India, the ever-present threat of rape, and the right of self-defense — part 2

[In a culture of male ‘rape entitlement’ and government’s disregard for women, knives for self-defense–Shiv Sena party began handing out the weapons to women at a function in Mumbai.  Local party official Ajay Chowdhary told supporters “the way you cut vegetables, cut the hand of the person who touches you the same way,” saying women should keep the three-inch (seven-centimetre) blades in their purses. — Frontlines ed.]

Chili powder and knives given to Mumbai women to fend off rapists

26 January, 2013

AFP Photo / Punit Paranjpe

[AFP Photo / Punit Paranjpe]

The Shiv Sena party has distributed knives and chili powder to women in Mumbai to send a message to ‘eve-teasers’ after the fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi last month, which has ignited a debate on India’s appalling rise in sexual offenses.

The Shiv Sena party, an ally of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has distributed 21,000 knives with 3-inch (7 cm) blades to women in Mumbai and its surrounding areas and plans to hand out a total of 100,000.

This is a symbolic gesture. Its only to pass a signal to eve-teasers, anti-social elements and perpetrators of crime against women that women are empowered and can take care of themselves,” said Rahul Narvekar, a spokesman for the party. ‘Eve teasing’ is an Indian euphemism for molesting women.

“Don’t be afraid of using this knife if someone attacks you. We have set up a team of nine advocates to protect you from any potential court cases that may arise.” Ajay Chaudhari, who is running the knife campaign for Shiv Sena, was quoted as saying by the Party’s newspaper, Saamana. Continue reading

India, the ever-present threat of rape, and the right of self-defense — part 3

Women Maoists pledge security to tribal girls

RANCHI: ‘Tribal girls who go to cities in search of jobs get raped in return and either come back home pregnant, or with babies and diseases,’ read a poster of the women’s wing of the CPI (Maoist) Nari Mukti Sangh (NMS), a frontal organization of the rebels. Some tribal girls are not fortunate enough to return home, instead their bodies arrive at their villages, read another poster.

The posters, recovered from Pitambar Mahato, alias Pritam alias Lambu, an aide of CPI sub-zonal commander, Kundan Pahan, said, “NMS will vow to ensure the safety of women during the International Women’s Day celebrations on March 8.” Mahato was arrested by district police on Thursday. The NMS women’s special programmes will continue till March 31 across the state. ‘If you support our movement and make it successful, it will result women emancipation,’ screamed another poster. Official figures suggest that crime against women continues to rise unchecked in Jharkhand.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, crime against women has grown from 2,490 cases in 2002 to 3,132 cases in 2011 in the state. NMS has claimed that government has not been able to do anything to check crimes against women. The posters, which also have details of atrocities on tribal women at the hands of CRPF and district police in Chhatisgrah, have been widely circulated. ”Unless Mahila Mukti Andolan (agitation to liberate women) is intensified, women will continue to be under attack,” the posters said. It has urged tribal women, labourers, women organizations, among others to support their cause. Instead of working to ensure safety of women, the police are working to arrest our cadre members, the posters seemed to suggest. Continue reading