'Haryana women have done the most to fight khaps'

A locator map of Kaithal district, Haryana

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Jagmati Sangwan, 50, has been leading the fight against khap panchayats and honour crimes in Haryana. The articulate and spunky president of the Haryana wing of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) – formerly a volleyball player – spoke to Shreya Roy Chowdhury in Delhi:

Has the fight against honour crimes grown stronger in Haryana?
AIDWA has been active in Haryana since 1985. Initially we had a team of 10-15, now we have about 48,000 members operating in 11 districts. Violence against women, specifically violence in the name of honour, and the diktats of khap panchayats has been one of our main areas of intervention.

How did you start work?
We started working with families whose kids were killed or excommunicated by the community. Those days violence wasn’t perceived as violence at all. We intervened in lots of cases but because there is no special law against honour killings, in most cases, the culprits got away. No one was prepared to bear witness or gather evidence. But in the Manoj-Babli case – a same-gotra couple who were killed in Kaithal district in June 2007 – it was a different story. Manoj lived with his mother, a widow, and his sister. Women called the shots in this household and this was a women’s organisation active in the field for the last 20-25 years. They considered our small force a great support and agreed to fight with us. For the first time there’s been a landmark verdict on this issue and with this we have been able to set up couple protection homes. People from all over India have contributed but we feel Haryana women have done the most.

How do khaps harass young couples?
Khaps can tell a married couple with a two-year-old baby that their marriage has violated the gotra laws and they must now tie rakhis and become siblings. If the couples don’t comply, their families are ostracised. This was common in Haryana. Families got thrown out of the village, fined for Rs 21,000, hit with shoes, tonsured and urinated upon. Even against these, there should be laws. There are layers to the problem. There are many cases involving adolescent girls. There is nothing to help them. But if they ever slip up or the families even suspect anything, they’re killed. In that age-bracket, girls, not boys, are killed regularly. Schoolteachers in our group report disappearance of students. Questioned, families say things like the girl had stomach ache and died. There’s such strong acceptance of these actions that no one complains. In case of inter-caste marriages, if the boy is from a lower caste and landless, both will be killed. This isn’t an honour issue at all. We have a hierarchical society and its leaders want the divisions to remain. If the youth exercise their right to choose their partners, it has the potential to destroy caste structures. Property will go from the landed to the landless pushing towards a more egalitarian society. That’s the real threat; the cause of the murders. Those who understand these implications have, till now, controlled all social and economic structures and resources. Now they are threatened and political outfits depend on them for votes. They don’t want that kids use this right to ‘choice marriage’ because social and economic structures will collapse.

What has changed in the past few years?
The March 2010 district court verdict in the Manoj-Babli case, which sentenced five of the perpetrators to death, sent a strong message that nobody is above the law. The panchayat workers involved have also been punished. This verdict, the way cases are being registered and the construction of protection homes, have all helped. Marriage within the same gotra is in any case rare. This same-gotra wedding problem is greatly exaggerated. A National Commission for Women survey with Shakti Vahini shows that only 4 per cent marriages were within gotra. Thankfully, now girls and boys are speaking up for ‘choice marriage’.

Read more: ‘Haryana women have done the most to fight khaps’ – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Haryana-women-have-done-the-most-to-fight-khaps/articleshow/7168011.cms#ixzz19EqYOFKN




The meeting was organised by Shakti Vahini  in collaboration with Women and Child Police Unit Nanakpura , Delhi Police , order to provide a platform for the Juvenile Welfare Officers  to have a open discussion on the working of the Juvenile Justice Act with various stakeholders. The program was attended by 70 police personnel’s and stakeholders associated with J.JAct. Ms Geetika- Joint Director, Department of Women and Child, Govt of NCT of Delhi, Ms Suman Nalwa – Additional DCP , Special Cell for Women and Child Nanakpura , Mr Shashank Shekhar- Member of Delhi Commission for Protection for Child Rights,  Mr Ananad Asthana -Advocate , Delhi Legal Services Authority, Chairperson , Child Welfare Committee Mayur Vihar , Chairperson , Child Welfare Committee Nirmal Chaya were the dignitaries who addressed the Juvenile Welfare Officers.

The program started  by a welcome speech by Mr Ravi Kant- Advocate Supreme Court of India , and President Shakti Vahini  who opined that the training programs which was organised by  Shakti Vahini in different police stations of East and Central district of Delhi led to the ignition of  the  present meeting . The Juvenile Welfare Officers had lots of queries which required immediate clarifications  and attention.

Ms Komal Ganotra(Specialist Training and Advocacy , CIF , Delhi) discussed  the role of CHIILDLINE programme in city. She stated that CHILDLINE  is a network committed to a mission and mandate for child protection. They want to create a child friendly  nation  that guarantees welfare of children . She requested the police personnel’s to avail the services of CHILDLINE without any kind of hesitation.She also requested the police personnels to make use of the  correct  constitutional safeguards  with respect to the issues pertaining to children.

Ms Geetika Sharma(Joint Director , Dept of Social Welfare)  discussed about trafficking of women and children. She stated that Law Enforcement Agencies should know about issues connected to trafficking of women and children . It is an organised crime so it is  extremely important for all of us to join hands  in order to curb this crime. She also talked about the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. Dept Of Social Welfare  has initiated many activities for the emotional and economic  upliftment  of the victims .She stated  on the fact that  the main job of Social Welfare Dept is to work for the welfare of the victims. She highlighted the need of strengthening of the restoration and repatriation of the victims.

Ms Suman Nalwa(Addl.DCP,SPUWC) raised certain important issues of the police personnels. She opined that Govt has created State CWC but  the police officials who are representatives of the state are not made  part of that committe. She Higlighted the need of convergence between the different Stakeholders in the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act. She said that the local police should be aware of the different programmes being run by the different agencies for the welfare of Children and Women. She said that the Delhi Police was preparing for the Anti Human Trafficking Units to established as per the Ministry of Home Affairs Guidelines. She requested the juvenile welfare officers to come up with their issues/problems to her and she will definitely carry forward their issues to higher authorities.She also mentioned that  there should be safety areas /places like Balwadi for the protection of those kids whose both the parents go out for work.

A  briefing was also done  on Child in need  of care and protection by CWC members , Smt Neera Mullick(Chaiperson , CWC, Nirmal Chhaya), Smt Mamta Sahay(Chairperson CWC, Mayur Vihar) and Smt Paramjit Kaur Kukreja(Member, CWC, Lajpat Nagar) . They all requested the police personnels to write a detailed  case study of the  victim before producing them  to the concerned CWC. They also asked them to  get a detailed  medical check up  of the victims. They also requested the police personnels to be extra careful  and sensitive while dealing with issues pertaining to children.

Police personnels present over there discussed the challenges faced by them while they deal with cases pertaining to children. The juvenile welfare officers are  not able to give their full efforts in issues pertaining to children as they are already preloaded with other cases. All the honourable members of CWC agreed to carry forward their issues to higher authorities.

Mr Anant Kumar Asthana (Legal Aid Counsel, Juvenile Justice Board-I)  discussed about JJB and legal aid. He requested the police officials to follow the guidelines   of J.J Act  very carefully and methodically . He also asked them to be very sensitive and affectionate while handling cases pertaining to children.He mentioned the achievement of this act which has helped in raising the  success graph. He  opined that in near future  we will file a petition in support of the facilities provided  to Juvenile Welfare Officers  so that they will be able to carry out the investigation properly and independently. He requested the police personnels to treat each and every child as their own child and  they should never take J.J Act with any kind of fear or hatredness. They should try to come out  with positive measures  inorder to  fill the gaps.

SI Vishal  Dev(SJPU, EAST) and SI Meena Kumari (SJPU,CENTRAL) both of them thanked Shakti Vahini for the training programmes which is being conducted regularly in the concerned police stations and also for the legal  and counselling services.

Mr Shashank Shekhar(Representative , DCPCR)  talked about  the efficiency of Delhi Police in handling cases pertaining to child rights. He opined that at present approximately in  800  cases related to child rights DCPCR has involved   Delhi Police .He said that Delhi Police is one of the best example in the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act. He also talked about all the rights pertaining to children like ITPA, J.J Act , BPBA and Right to Education.DCPCR is the only commission which follows UNCRCand takes care of the best interest of the child and serves the best interest of the child.The framework followed by DCPCR is right to survival , right to development (education , care , leisure and recreation), right to protection (from exploitation , abuse and  neglect) and right to participation-expression, information, thought and religion. Whatever cases comes to DCPCR they take it as a complain and thus  give recommendations to competent authorities.

Finally a vote of thanks was given by Mr Ravi Kant who thanked all the resource persons for giving their valuable time and enlightening each and everyone  present there in the meeting.

Tahira refuses to meet family

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21 DECEMBER 2010
KOLKATA: By the time she stepped out of the train on Monday dressed in a red salwar kameez, her face veiled by a red dupatta Tahira Khatun was dog-tired. The long train journey and the last five days of twists and turns had taken their toll. But as she looked around eagerly soaking in the people, the familiar ring of Bengali her eyes started sparkling. Tahira was finally in Kolkata, not far from home. 

Or was she? “No, I don’t want to go back home. Neither do I want to meet anyone from my family. I had a good life in Delhi and I don’t want to get back to the horrible life at home,” Tahira retorted, when asked if she missed her family. She had just got off the Rajdhani Express at Sealdah.

Twenty months after she was trafficked from her village Balikhal in rural Kakdwip, South 24-Parganas, and sold off in Delhi, there are no easy answers to the Tahira Khatun riddle. Members of Shakti Vahini, the NGO that helped rescue her, and the police have said repeatedly that she has been brainwashed by those who had trafficked her.

“It seems that Tahira has been brainwashed by the traffickers, who’ve convinced her that she has no life back home. But now, she seems to have started understanding a few things. The girl needs help and proper counselling by professionals,” said Rishi Kant, an activist of Shakti Vahini.

Tahira was candid about the fact that she missed her Delhi life. “Initially, I was afraid and apprehensive. But I gradually gained confidence. I was given good food, clothes and a nice play to stay. I was happy there,” the 16-year-old said. When she went missing on April 15, 2009, no one including herself thought her life would take such a turn. According to Tahira, Kalam, the man who lured her from home, promised to bail her out of poverty and the miserable life she was leading. She had no idea that she would be sold off.

Finally, when a team of Delhi Police and state CID found her in Delhi’s Begumpura on December 16, Tahira had accepted her new life. Now, even her family is not sure if they should meet her. Though they wanted to come to Kolkata, they were allegedly discouraged by CID officials. Fearing repercussions, they stayed away from the city.

“Tahira’s mother Samiran Biwi has become all the more restless after she came to know that Tahira has been traced. She has been begging us to take her to Tahira. But we are helpless. We will do that only when CID officials instruct us,” said Tahira’s stepmother Johura Biwi.

It was Johura’s untiring efforts that saw Calcutta high court come down heavily on the state police DG, which finally led to the girl being traced. Johura had knocked on the high court’s door to find her step-daughter. But till now, CID officials have not even formally informed the family that the girl has been found. They got the news from media reports.
From Sealdah, Tahira was taken to the CID headquarters at Bhavani Bhawan. She was later shifted to Sanlaap, a home for destitute girls. Members of the state child welfare board are supposed to meet her on Tuesday. 

Read more: Tahira refuses to meet family Sumati – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/Tahira-refuses-to-meet-familySumati/articleshow/7135984.cms#ixzz18hzdsfD6

Girl recoils at fear of ostracism in Bengal – ‘Tortured, humiliated and brainwashed’

South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, India

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New Delhi, Dec. 17: Kidnapped and sold last year and rescued from Delhi yesterday, 16-year-old Bengal girl Yasmin Khatun says she doesn’t want to return home for fear of ostracism. Consumed with shame and misplaced guilt at the “different” life she has led for the past year and a half, Yasmin (name changed) has told police and social workers she has “grave doubts” about ever being accepted by the people of her South 24-Parganas village, Balikhali.“She is both traumatised and humiliated,” said Bengal CID inspector Sarbari Bhattacharya, the leader of the police team that came to Delhi to rescue the Kakdwip girl who was abducted in April last year.

“She told me she doesn’t want to go back to Bengal because she is unsure how she would be received. She wants to remain in Delhi. The traffickers who brought her to Delhi have brainwashed her into thinking that she would be humiliated and taunted by her own people if she ever returns home.”

Tomorrow, the Delhi government’s child welfare committee (CWC) will counsel Yasmin and try to dispel her fears. At some point of time, Yasmin may have to travel at least to Calcutta, whose high court has asked the police to produce her. CWC chairperson Neera Mallick, however, said: “The girl needs counselling at least for the next six months before she is exposed to the world.”

Inspector Bhattacharya said the traffickers would torture Yasmin every time she said she wanted to return home, and had brainwashed her into thinking that after her life in Delhi, she would be an “untouchable” back in Bengal. “She is confused,” Bhattacharya said. “Sometimes she smiles and sometimes she suddenly starts crying.” Over a period of time, the officer said, Yasmin began believing she would never be able to leave and began accepting her life in Delhi. Her tormentors then started tutoring her in etiquette and the social graces, and bought her expensive dresses, to transform the rustic girl into a “lady of society”.

“I was surprised last night when, while having dinner, she suddenly asked for a napkin,” Bhattacharya said. “I never expected that from a village girl. But I quickly realised that the traffickers had been grooming her. The room we rescued her from had an air-conditioner.”Rashi Aditi Ghosh, of the NGO Shakti Vahini, who had accompanied the police on the raid to rescue the girl, too said that Yasmin had told her she didn’t want to “go back to her baba and maa”.

“She said she was disgusted with her father’s foul behaviour. She seemed confused and may not be telling the whole truth.”It’s not clear what Yasmin has against her 61-year-old father Khater Bhisti, a fish seller, but she owes her freedom to her unlettered stepmother Johora Bibi who, faced with initial police apathy, fought a lone crusade to take the battle to the high court. Ghosh said her NGO had helped rescue many trafficked girls and that she did not find Yasmin’s behaviour unusual. Having accepted their new life, especially the “material comforts” that come with it, many of the girls are reluctant to return home.

“Yasmin is ashamed of the life she has been forced to lead but, at the same time, she has grown used to the comforts. In this confused state she may be trying to find excuses not to return home,” Ghosh said. “Many girls we have rescued have behaved in this way, but she needs counselling and someone she can open her heart to.”

For now, Yasmin is staying at Nirmal Chhaya, a home for girls run by the Delhi government’s social welfare department. The police have been asked to provide all the files about Yasmin, including her medical examination report, for tomorrow’s CWC hearing that will help decide if she would be returning home.

In Calcutta, the CID said it would approach the high court on Monday and seek permission to produce Yasmin. It was the court order to produce Yasmin, on a petition from Johora, that had kicked off the hunt for her.




A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...

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The winter session has come to an end, but parliamentary committees continue to meet to discuss important issues.  Some of them are:

  • Lok Sabha Committee on Ethics | 21 Dec 2010 | Agenda: Adding to procedure of Lok Sabha,  rules to incorporate a committee on ethics, specify its functions and procedures to be followed by the committee
  • Lok Sabha Committee on Empowerment of Women | 21 Dec 2010 | Agenda: Informal interaction with with NGO Shakti Vahini on the subject Honour Killings and other forms of violence against Women
  • Committee on Water Resources | 21 Dec 2010 | Agenda: Evidence of the representatives of the Ministry of Water Resources on The Dam Safety Bill, 2010
  • Committee on Finance | 21 Dec 2010 | Agenda: 1. Oral hearing of the representatives of (i) Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and (ii) US India Business Council (USIBC) on the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008’. 2. Further oral evidence of representatives of Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) and Enforcement Directorate on ‘Tax exemptions and related matters in respect of IPL/BCCI’

SOURCE: http://prsindia.org/theprsblog/2010/12/17/important-committee-meetings/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=important-committee-meetings






Dec. 16: A parent’s worst nightmare came true when a 15-year-old girl who went to see a circus did not return home one-and-a-half years ago in a Bengal village. Today, something that few parents in Bengal or many other parts of the world can rarely hope for also came true: that same girl was found in a trafficker’s hellhole in Delhi and rescued.The perseverance of an unlettered stepmother, the helping hand of a lawyer’s clerk and the caring instincts of a judge and the insistence of the court jolted Bengal police to launch a hunt that took them to the girl who was sold for Rs 5,000 by a trafficker.

A CID team from Calcutta, with the help of Delhi police, rescued a “traumatised” Yasmin Khatun (name changed), now 16, from a hideout in west Delhi’s Begumpur today. “The girl was rescued from a house in a raid carried out jointly by our team and Bengal police early today. She had been kidnapped and kept in a house in Begumpur,” Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner (crime branch) of Delhi police, said.

Nishan Pervez, special superintendent of police, CID, said his team had confirmed that the girl was the same person reported missing from Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas. P. Nirajnayan, IG, Bengal CID, said the girl was “traumatised” and had been sent for medical examination. Plucked away by a gang of traffickers, Yasmin’s story is testimony to the free run gangs of traffickers enjoy in Bengal’s poverty-ridden villages.

Yasmin would have remained another piece of the cold statistics that say 2,500 teenaged girls disappear from Bengal every year but for the combined efforts of an unlikely group of people brought together by the persistence of her stepmother Johora Bibi. On September 18 and 19, The Telegraph had reported the plight of the family and Johora’s crusade to trace her.

Yasmin’s 61-year-old father Khater Bhisti was too preoccupied earning a living by selling fish and it was left to Johora to fight the battle to bring the girl home. (See chart) With the help of Rafique Ahmed Dorji, a lawyer’s clerk, the illiterate Johora climbed the legal stairs one by one and reached Calcutta High Court. The case caught the attention of Justice Sanjib Banerjee who sent the matter to the chief justice.

The case opened a can of worms. At the court’s bidding, the government was forced to admit that over 2,500 teenaged girls had disappeared from Bengal last year. Chief Justice J.N. Patel then asked the police to produce the girl before the court on October 1. The police could not meet that deadline but they did manage a breakthrough in November when a tip-off led them to a 32-year-old resident of Elliot Road, Kalam, who traffics in girls.

Kalam confessed he had sold Yasmin to another trafficker in Delhi, Azhar, for Rs 5,000. It is not clear yet how Kalam came across the girl. Johora had earlier alleged the hand of some relatives. The police laid a trap for Azhar using the time-tested ploy of posing as traffickers and eventually catching up with him in Delhi. (Details in graphic)This afternoon, Yasmin was rescued. According to the police, Yasmin had not been allowed to step outside the Delhi house. The girl was tortured whenever she said she wanted to return home.




Sarbari Bhattacharya, who led the CID team to Delhi, said: “At the moment, the girl is very traumatised. She was crying inconsolably, asking us to reunite her with her parents.” Bhattacharya said Azhar was part of a nationwide prostitution racket. “He has close links with traffickers in Bengal and other parts of the country,” she said. “Azhar used to supply girls to clients in Secunderabad and Goa. They had a wide network. The gang members used to accompany the girls sent to clients in other cities.” If the medical report permits immediate travel, the girl and the CID team will leave for Calcutta tomorrow.

On September 18, Johora had told The Telegraph: “I suspect the traffickers have taken her to a big city in another part of the country, and I wonder if the state police can find her. I can only hope and pray they do.” Today, 89 days later, Johora said: “We are now waiting for her to come home. I can’t say how we spent the last one-and-a-half years.”


“Show concern, start bothering and protect the victims of despicable crime like human trafficking”

Tribune News Service  Karnal, December 16 / THE TRIBUNE



“Show concern, start bothering and protect the victims of despicable crime like human trafficking” was the message for 54 participants at the three-day workshop on “Combating Trafficking in Human Beings” held at the Haryana Police Academy, Madhuban.

Representatives of departments like prosecution, police, health, women and child welfare, labour and NGOs from northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh (UT), Uttarakhand and Delhi attended the workshop organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development to training and sensitisation about human rrafficking.

The participants were trained to work with more zeal and enthusiasm for preventing human trafficking in all forms as it completely violates the human dignity and the individual loses his health, wealth, liberty of life and his rights of safety against the violation.

The weaker sections of society like women and children were the main targets of this crime.

SN Vashisht, ADGP, crime, Haryana, nodal officer for the programme, said trafficking in human beings primarily and adversely affected the people in the lowest socio-economic group and the workshop was just a small beginning in rooting out of this social malady.

Sudhir Chowdhary, director, Haryana Police Academy, said the programme was designed with a view to striking a balance between theoretical and practical application in real situation. Trafficking in human being most lucrative, this business was spreading as an industry at an alarming speed, he cautioned.

Experts from different fields, including  Dr PM Nair, IPS, ADGP (CRPF),  New Delhi;  NC Joshi, a former DGP, BPRD;  Dr KP Singh;   Dr Achal Bhagat, Apollo Hospital, New Delhi; and  Dr Sunitha Krishnan, Prajawala, Hyderabad.Arvind Jain, a Supreme Court advocate, and Ravi Kant, President , Shakti Vahini & Advocate Supreme Court of India, updated the knowledge of participants with regard to legal provisions for investigation and prosecution, rescue and rehabilitation of the victims.

Ajay Maken, Union Minister of State for Home, who inaugurated the workshop, said human trafficking was a serious crime and the government was serious about combating this social malady and planned to establish a human trafficking unit in each district of the state.


Sold twice, minor girl from Bengal rescued


NEW DELHI: In a late-night operation which lasted over three hours on Wednesday against alleged human traffickers, a special team of the West Bengal CID and personnel from the crime branch of Delhi Police and west and central districts rescued a 16-year-old girl from the clutches of her captors from Begumpur in west Delhi. The minor girl had gone missing from her village in South 24-Parganas in West Bengal on April 15 last year.

One Azhar was arrested near the Rithala Metro station in northwest Delhi. Though cops denied it, locals claimed there was a brief shootout before the accused was nabbed. Cops said that Azhar is involved in trafficking young girls from eastern and other parts of India and he has been doing it for the past 12 years. “Though the case is in the initial stage of investigation, we believe that the accused is involved in at least 40 cases of trafficking,” said a senior police officer.

According to sources, the team was helped by NGO Shakti Vahini, which gave police some crucial leads. “Two of our girls even posed as decoys and intercepted the girl,” said Rishikant, a social activist heading the operations of the NGO. Cops said that the ‘lead’ in their search for the minor came after they arrested one Kalam from Park Street area in Kolkata. “We looked for her in several places in Delhi, including G B Road, Nanakpura and Prashant Vihar. It was on Azhar’s instance that we managed to rescue the minor,” said a source in the crime branch.

In her statement to the police, the minor said she was lured by one Alam and brought to Delhi where he allegedly sold her to Azhar. The accused then sold her to one Kadir alias Raju. It was at Raju’s residence that the girl was rescued, but Raju managed to give police the slip.

However, the Kolkata police could not immediately take back the girl and produce her before the Calcutta high court. “When the girl was produced before the Child Welfare Committee at Kingsway Camp in north Delhi, she was sent to a child protection centre – Nirmal Chhaya – near Tihar Jail. A separate application will have to be filed by West Bengal police before Nirmal Chhaya in order to take her back home. The girl has been sent for a medical examination.

Meanwhile, the accused Azhar has been granted two days’ custody to West Bengal police, which will take him back to the state on a transit remand. A case under sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping a woman to compel her to marry) and 372 (selling or letting to hire a minor for purposes of prostitution) of the IPC has been registered.

The disappearance of the minor stepdaughter of Johara Begum on April 15, 2009, had forced the West Bengal police to acknowledge before the Calcutta high court that over 2,500 teenaged girls had gone missing from Bengal last year, apparently due to rampant trafficking. The Calcutta high court had earlier directed the West Bengal police to produce the girl before it on November 12 this year. In the latest order, the court had directed that the girl be produced before it by December 7 after a haebus corpus was filed against the DGP concerned. The division bench headed by Chief Justice Jaynarayan Patel issued the order after the mother of the girl, Johra Bibi, appeared in the court and said the CID had not acted properly on the missing complaint filed by her. She had alleged that some of her relatives and neighbours, whom she had named in the FIR, had forcibly taken her daughter away.

The division bench, however, asked why the CID failed to trace the girl when her mother had named seven persons in the FIR and directed the DGP to produce her before it on November 12. After the girl had gone missing from Balikhal village in South 24-Parganas on April 15, 2009, her mother lodged a missing complaint the next day. With police failing to act on her complaint, the family filed a writ petition in the high court in May 2009 alleging that police did not take proper action to trace her.

In her statement to the police, the minor said she was lured by one Alam and brought to Delhi where he allegedly sold her to Azhar. The accused then sold her to one Kadir alias Raju.

Read more: Sold twice, minor girl from Bengal rescued – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Sold-twice-minor-girl-from-Bengal-rescued-/articleshow/7114998.cms#ixzz18L8e1qg1


What’s pushing Gurgaon kids to crime

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Sanjay Yadav, TNN, Dec 16, 2010, 08.18pm IST

GURGAON: Breaking family structure, increasing show of violence in the media, low tolerance level and stress are just a handful of issues which city doctors point out as reasons behind the growing juvenile crimes. Continuous exposure to violence makes a child not only aggressive but also changes his perception about reality: “The overall upbringing of a child plays a critical role in shaping his future. However, when there is an unchecked exposure of violence to an adolescentmind, he becomes desensitized,” says Dr Samir Parikh, chief psychiatrist of Max Healthcare.

Doctors also attribute such behavior to the tendency of youngster’s eagerness to experiment — just like the enthusiasm to have first drink and first smoke, in rare cases it becomes the first crime. “Gurgaon has cultural trends quite similar to the western countries — that’s what we learn from our regular studies. This culture brings in a huge conflict between the teenagers and their parents in terms of the value system. This gap, and the way these children handle it, usually comes out as misbehavior, road rage and — in worst cases —crime,” explains Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, psychologist at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon.

Cases of depression, anxiety and stress related to exams are on the rise in city hospitals. That’s not it. Youngsters in their early teen are facing relationship crisis: “I see at least one case everyday where the child (15-17 years) comes with psychological disorders arising from a broken relationship,” added Dr Singh.

With both parents at work, there is an increasing level of disconnect between children and parents. This makes children feel lonely, with no one, except their friends, to consult at the moment of crisis. Police also need to change the way they handle different cases of juvenile crime. In cases of abused children, cops treat them in the same manner as those in conflict with the law. “Such children, if not counseled within time, are most likely to avenge by an act of crime. One must keep in mind that no matter how heinous the crime might be, a child is a child; and hence he/she needs care and counseling,” asserted Rishikant from Shakti Vahini, an NGO working in child rescue operations in the state.

Read more: What’s pushing Gurgaon kids to crime – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/Whats-pushing-Gurgaon-kids-to-crime/articleshow/7112956.cms#ixzz18IKXMHO9


Honour Killing is Not Caste, Religion-specific


Honour is the most precious moral attribute of mankind. It is deeply ingrained in its nature. Defence of honour even at the cost of life has been prevalent in human beings since ages. It is a commonwealth of close blood relatives. Defilement of honour is taken as the most atrocious social crime and its redemption becomes a joint and sacred duty of close-knit people. Debased groups have a soft approach towards transgression of honour. The sentimental chord dormant in them may react at times; its degree may vary from group to group. Tradition-bound rural societies invariably react violently for the redemption of their honour. To them honour is dearer than life.

Honour is both an individual and a kinship related phenomenon. It may transgress family unit and invoke sentiments within the caste groups. It may spill over a wider geographical area depending upon the nature of the issue at stake. Honour is not a prerogative of men alone. Womenfolk are more sensitive to safeguard their honour. Since they are incapacitated by the absence of manly-might, defence of women’s honour naturally devolves upon men. ‘The defence of female purity, however, is a male responsibility and men are therefore vulnerable to dishonour not through their own sexual misconduct but through that of their womenfolk —that is to say, members of the same nuclear family, including mother, wife, unmarried sister and daughter. Hence, sexual insults that impugn the honour of men refer not to them but to their women.’1 ‘Honour is commonly considered by moral philosophers to be a state of the individual conscience and, as such, equivalent to the absence of self-reproach. It relates to intentions rather than to the objective consequences of action, and a man is therefore said to be the only judge of his own honour. If he knows his intentions to be “above reproach”, then he is indifferent to the comments of others, who cannot evaluate the quality of his motives. He is committed by his honour to the fulfilment of duties that are recognised as being attached to social roles. The casuists recognised honour as a personal responsibility and admitted the defence of honour as a licit form of self-defence which could excuse actions that would otherwise be sinful.’2 Honour killing has had the tacit approval of the society and as such honour killing cases were disposed of at the community level.

A UN document quotes that Pakistan, India and Bangladesh (read the Indian subcontinent) are more prone to honour killing. In Pakistan last year alone 647 women lost their lives. India was inches behind with its approximately 500 killings. In view of the alarming number of honour killing cases, the UN in 2004 adopted a resolution towards the elimination of crime against women. In Pakistan an Islamic law, passed in the 1980s, permits killers to buy pardon from the victim’s family. It resulted in ‘an alarming increase in the practice of Karo-Kari (honour killing)’. Under this Islamic law, ‘a man can kill a woman, claiming that she brought dishonour to the family, and still expect to be forgiven by her relatives’. Karo-Kari is a culturally acceptable practice where an individual’s honour is restored by the killing of the woman and the man perceived to have shamed him. According to a recent report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 617 women were killed for the sake of ‘honour’ in 2009, up 13 per cent from 574 in 2008.3

The Palestinian law awards lenient punishment for killing wives or females relatives, if they have brought dishonour to the family.

It may be a matter of sheer coincidence that at a time when honour killing is a hotly debated issue in India, a Jordanian journalist, Rana Husseini, in her well-researched work Murder in the Name of Honour, gives a worldview on honour killing. It is practised in West Asian countries and in the US, UK and Europe. Her nerve-shaking findings reveal that women are murdered by their own relatives.4 Her thesis is parallel to honour killing in India where it is a home-grown crime. It is the family members and close kins who surreptiously dispense with the woman who caused dishonour to the family. No third agency is involved in instigating the incidence. In some cases the man who allured the woman to transgress marital norms also meets the tragic end. Among the migrant communities in Europe and the US the guilty is killed or disfigured by close relatives to restore family honour.

IN India law takes cognisance of killing a person. It makes no distinction between honour killing or murdering a person. It is a punishable offence in the IPC under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention). Following a spurt in the name of honour killing, the Government of India appointed a GOM committee chaired by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The committee invited CMs of five honour killing-prone States at its August 26 meeting. The four CMs turned a Nelson’s eye to the issue and used the shield of lack of data on honour killing as an excuse to abstain from attending the crucial meeting. Haryana CM Bhupender Hooda did a good amount of homework to put his views across the table. He concluded that the existing laws are quite stringent and there is no need to bring a new legislation to deal with honour killing cases; that honour killing is a social evil which should be dealt with by creating social awareness; that NGOs can play a useful role in eradicating this evil; and that Khap Panchayats have no role in honour killing as it is a ‘home grown evil’. The GOM has to consult other Ministries such as those of Law and Social Welfare and hear the views of NGOs before making its recommendations on the issue. The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) demanded that a stand-alone law is needed to curb ‘honour crime’. Sample the following recent honour killing cases, some of which have met the ends of justice and some others are at the prosecution stage. It is not an exhaustive list.

1. Sushma Prabhu versus The State of Maharashtra Case. ‘Prabhu, Sushma’s husband, was killed by her brother, Dilip Tiwari, and his associate in Mumbai in May 2004. Reason: it was a mismatched-caste marriage. It violated the marriage vidhan prescribed in the Dharmshastras. Sushma was a Brahmin and Prabhu belonged to a low caste.’ The fast-track sessions court in Mumbai sentenced all the accused to death. The Bombay High Court upheld it, but the Supreme Court in December 2009 reduced the death sentence to 25 years in prison.

The Supreme Court said: “It is common experience that when the younger sister commits something unusual and in this case it was an inter-caste, inter-community marriage out of [a] secret love affair, then in society it is the elder brother who justifiably or otherwise is held responsible for not stopping such [an] affair.”

The judgment read: “If he became the victim of his wrong but genuine caste considerations, it would not justify the death sentence. The vicious grip of the caste, community, religion, though totally unjustified, is a stark reality.”5

The Supreme Court tacitly conferred a measure of legitimacy to honour killing. The SC’s views were a stark reality. After a few weeks of this judgement, a teenaged girl was hacked to death in Sitapur village, near Lucknow, by the brother for eloping with her lover. (The Hindu, June 4, 2010).6 Such cases are reported in the media frequently.

2. Sushma Tiwari’s stand was translated into a reality by Chandramati of village Karora in Kaithal district of Haryana. Her son, Manoj, married Babli on May 18, 2007. Babli’s family approached the panchayat which ruled that the marriage in the same gotra and same village are against the Hindu Dharmashastras. It ostracised Manoj’s family decreeing that anyone violating the panchayat decision would be seriously dealt with. Police protection could bring no relief to the couple. While they were on their way to a safer place, Babli’s kith and kin brutally killed them and disposed of their corpses in a nearby canal. Grief-stricken Chandramati filed a criminal case in the court of law against Babli’s kins and the Khap Panchayat. The defendants’ stand was that Manoj and Babli were not only sahgotri but also first cousins. Their nuptial relationship amounted to a incestuous relationship. No Hindu family worth its name would allow a sister marrying his close brother. Here family honour was at stake, it was a family killing case. The Khap had no say at any stage except that it condemned incestuous marital relationship. In a historic judgment the Karnal sessions court convicted the Khap Panchayat leader and six others. It sentenced five people to death and another to life imprisonment for murdering the young couple. Pronouncing the judgment the judge ‘criticised the Khap Panchayats for functioning countrary to the Constitution and said they had become a law unto themselves’. The trial lasted 33 months and 41 witnesses deposed during 50 hearings.

3. In Nainital, Reshma Pravin had married Shahbuddin against the wishes of her family in 2007. One year later her brothers killed their pregnant sister and her husband for marrying against their wishes. The court awarded life imprisonment to the culprits. (HT, May 19, 2009)

4. In a Andhra village a lower caste boy entered into marital relations with an upper caste Reddy girl. The two were stoned to death by angry villagers led by the girl’s father. (IE, May 27, 2009).

5. In another case of honour killing, a 30-year-old woman was allegedly murdered by her brother-in-law for eloping with her neighbour in Jaffarpur Kalan, southwest Delhi. (IE, June 28, 2009)

6. A young girl was hacked to death by her father and other family members over a love affair with a boy of the same caste in Khalidabad village in district Kaushambi, UP. (IE, March 29, 2010)

7. In Koderma (Jharkhand) Delhi-based journalist Nirupama Pathak was strangulated to death by her mother as Nirupama wanted to marry her Kayastha boyfriend Priyabhanshu Ranjan. (HT, May 4, 2010) The police registered a case of honour killing against her mother.

8. Rizwanur Rahman, a computer trainer, secretly married Priyanka. The Todi family took their daughter home for a few days. Rizwan was found dead near the railway tracks in Kolkata. (TOI, May 9, 2010) 9. In a Haryana village near Sonipat two girls were killed by the family members for allegedly having affairs with their cousins, (TOI, June 28, 2010)

10. In an inter-caste marriage case Reuben Joseph and the girl’s father, Edward, killed the duo on the spur of the moment after they found them in a compromising position at the girl’s residence in Friends’ Colony, New Delhi. The paramour Hari Lal was from Punjab and Bimal, a Christian from Bihar. (TOI, July 13, 2010)

11. In a suspected case of honour killing in village Ghari Madhiya in Ghaziabad, a Muslim girl and a Muslim boy were allegedly murdered by the girl’s family members who were opposed to their alliance. (TOI, July 14, 2010)

12. A 20-year-old Gujjar girl was allegedly cut into pieces by family members after she married her Dalit software engineer colleague. (TOI, July 20, 2010)

THERE is a strong ground to conclude that honour killing is caused by mis-matched inter-caste marriage. The girl’s family invariably opposes such self-made marriage tooth and nail. The infatuated girl pays a heavy price for transgressing the family’s matrimonial traditions.

Honour killing is a home-grown crime to safeguard family honour. Close kins of the girl’s family join hands with the girl’s parents and brothers to kill the girl. No third agency, such as Khap or Caste Panchayat, has a direct hand in the honour related crime.

Honour killing is not India-specific. Rana Husseini’s study reveals that it is practised in most of the countries and it carries the tag of ‘cleansing the family of the immoral act of woman’.

Honour killing is more about caste than gotra. A study on honour killing, commissioned by the National Commission for Women (NCW), and conducted by an NGO, ‘Shakti Vahini’, profiled 560 cases which reflected that honour killing was a north Indian phenomenon, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath told the Rajya Sabha on August 9, 2010. The study revealed that in 88.93 per cent of the total 560 cases surveyed, perpetrators of the crimes were from the girl’s family, Tirath said in a written reply.

She added that honour killings were reported mostly from areas where Khap Panchayats were active and out of the 560 cases where couples were threatened, 121 persons were killed. The report mentioned that honour killings were less about the gotra issue and more about inter-caste marriages. Violence and threatening of couples have been reported both from rural and urban areas and from almost all sections of society.6

Do the perpetrators of honour killing deserve mercy? Defence of honour fall in the category of self-defence and law courts should take a soft view in such cases. The Supreme Court in Sushma Prabhu versus the State laid down that “it is a common experience that when the younger sister commits something unusual and in this case it was an inter-caste, inter-community marriage out of [a] secret love affair, then in society it is the elder brother who justifiably or otherwise is held responsible for not stopping such [a] affair”.

The judgment read: “If he became the victim of his wrong but genuine caste considerations, it would not justify the death sentence. The vicious grip of the caste, community, religion, though totally unjustified, is a stark reality.”


1. Julian Pitt-Rivers. ‘Honour’, International Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, by David L Sills (ed.), New York: Crowell Collier and MacMillan, 1968, p. 506.

2. Ibid., p. 504.

3. Fatima Najm, ‘Love and Punishment’, The Times of India, Crest ed., July 24, 2010, p. 12.

4. Rana Husseini, Murder in the Name of Honour, Oxford: Oneworld Publication, 2009.

5. Anupam Dasgupta, ‘A Lonely Fight’, The Week, April 25, 2010, p. 17.

6. ‘Human Killing is More About Caste Than Gotra’, The Times of India, August 10, 2010, p. 17.

The author is a former Librarian, University of Roorkee.

SOURCE: http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article2517.html