Delhi- North East organizations and women activists protest at Police Headquarters, ITO

January 13, 2014

Press Release
Date: 11.01.2014

North East organizations and women activists protest at Police Headquarters, ITO.
Protesters speak out against lack of character assassination of rape complainants and police inaction.
Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) met delegation

Today, women activists, trade unionists, students and intellectuals from various North East communities (such Kuki, Naga, Mising, Assamese, etc.) and progressive organizations protested outside the Delhi Police Headquarters, ITO under the call given by NEFIS (North East Forum for International Solidarity). Office bearers of Manipur Students Association, Delhi (MSAD) were also present at the protest. The demonstration was called against police inaction on the victimization of a woman from Manipur who complained about being raped by an NGO activist, Khurshid Anwar.

Unfortunately, ever since the complaint has come to light the case has seen unnecessary politicization, i.e. negative intervention in the case by those with vested interests. This has been particularly so after the accused committed suicide on 18 December 2013. Since then certain persons have been undertaking activities which amount to sheer intimidation and vilification of the complainant. The ongoing smear campaign against the complainant has reached to unprecedented proportions and has strong racist connotations. Naturally, the smear campaign has made a free and fair trial increasingly difficult. According to NEFIS and the gathered protesters, for a free and fair trial to unfold all the people who were involved in the case and its reporting to the NCW should be properly investigated and also cautioned from communicating their personal views in the media to the detriment of the complainant and without acquiring proper consent from her.

The protesters demanded that the rape shield law be enforced immediately and that the perpetrators of this vicious smear campaign be brought to the book swiftly. Maya John, a leading women’s right activist and convener of CSW (Centre for Struggling Women) was also present in the protest and expressed concern over the police inaction in protecting the complainant, and therefore, in ensuring the a free and fair trial.

It is a fact that the provision of rape-shield has not been made for the complainant so far – a measure that the Police should compulsorily take before and during the trial so that character assassination of complainants of rape cannot happen. The protesters demanded that those involved in character assassination should be duly investigated and punished, and that the Delhi Police, NCW and Human Rights Commission should take proper cognizance of the fact that some of the vigilante persons speaking on this case have been continuously making racist and gendered allegations against the complainant. The Police, in particular, are expected to take note of such unwanted interference in the case.

Our demands were submitted to the Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), Mr. Deepak Mishra in the form of a memorandum (see below) so that the trauma faced by complainant can be ended and a free and fair trial can unfold. Mr. Mishra assured the delegation that the nature of the smear campaign would be investigated. Following submission of the Memorandum, it was collectively decided that if the vilification of the complainant continues, NEFIS, other concerned individuals and organizations would resort to all democratic measures as well as approach higher government authorities so as to push for stringent action against the compromising of a free and fair trial.

Yours Sincerely
Aboycha
Bosco
Probin
North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS)
Contact: 7838983871 Email: nefis.delhi@gmail.com
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MEMORANDUM
11 January 2014

To,
Commissioner of Police
Delhi Police

Sir,
On behalf of North East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS), various other north east organizations, women’s groups, students, teachers, trade union activists, etc. we wish to bring to your immediate attention our concerns regarding the lack of protection of rape complainants and regarding police inaction against people who are indulging in smear campaigns against complainants of rape. We refer specifically to the recent case involving a young woman from Manipur who was working for the NGO, Boond. As you must be aware, the woman alleged that she was raped by an NGO activist, Khurshid Anwar, on the 12 September 2013. The complaint came to light when a video recording was taken and circulated in the social media, reportedly without the consent of the complainant, which has caused unnecessary politicization, i.e. negative intervention in the case by those with vested interests.

After the accused committed suicide on 18 December 2013, certain persons have been undertaking activities which amount to sheer intimidation and vilification of the complainant. The ongoing smear campaign against the complainant has reached to unprecedented proportions and has strong racist connotations. Since the complainant has not been guided and counseled satisfactorily in the entire process, it has unfortunately allowed for her victimization enabled acquaintances of the accused from indulging in her character assassination. Naturally, the smear campaign has made a free and fair trial increasingly difficult. According to us, for a free and fair trial to unfold all the people who were involved in the case and its reporting to the NCW should be properly investigated and also cautioned from communicating their personal views in the media to the detriment of the complainant and without acquiring proper consent from her.

We strongly believe that for a fair trial the Delhi Police should seriously look into the matter of intimidation and vilification of the victim. We take objection to the fact that the provision of rape-shield has not been made for the complainant so far – a measure that the Police should compulsorily take before and during the trial so that character assassination of complainants of rape cannot happen. All those involved in character assassination should be duly punished, and the Delhi Police, NCW and Human Rights Commission should take proper cognizance of the fact that some of the vigilante persons speaking on this case have been continuously making racist and gendered allegations against the complainant. The Police, in particular, should take note of such unwanted interference in the case.

If the vilification of the complainant continues, NEFIS and other concerned individuals and organizations resolve to approach higher government authorities, and to push for stringent action against the compromising of a free and fair trial.

We demand that Delhi Police to:
(i) Take immediate cognisance of the complainant’s victimization;
(ii) Immediately enforce the rape shield law;
(iii) Bring the perpetrators of the smear campaign to book promptly so that a free and fair trial can be pursued.

________________________
Press Invitation

We request your esteemed newspaper/news agency to cover the protest called by North East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) against the unending victimization and instigation of a smear campaign against a rape complainant from Manipur. As you may be aware, a young woman from Manipur working for the NGO, Boond, alleged that she was raped by an NGO activist, Khurshid Anwar, on the 12 September 2013. The complaint came to light when a video recording was taken and circulated in social media reportedly without the consent of the complainant, which has caused unnecessary politicization, i.e. negative intervention in the case by those with vested interests. Due to the growing vilification of the complainant (both in sexist and racist terms) in the social media and through other platforms, the possibility of a free and fair trial has been dangerously compromised.

NEFIS has therefore called protest against the negligence of the police authorities in enforcing the rape shield law and their failure to stop the smear campaign against the complainant. We request you to send a reporter/camera person to cover this important protest. The details are as follows:

Date : 11th of January 2014
Time : 3:00 pm
Venue :Outside Delhi Police Headquarters, ITO.

Thanking you,
Yours Sincerely
Ginminlun Haokip
North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS)
Contact: 7838983871 Email: nefis.delhi@gmail.com

_________________________________________

Manipur Students’ Association of Delhi

Recently a woman from Manipur working for the NGO, Boond, alleged that she was raped by an NGO activist, Khurshid Anwar, on the 12 September 2013. The complaint came to light when a video recording was taken and circulated in social media reportedly without the consent of the complainant, which has caused unnecessary politicization, i.e. negative intervention in the case by those with vested interests. After the accused committed suicide on 18 December 2013, certain persons are undertaking activities which amounts to intimidation and vilification of the complainant.

It is quite evident to the larger Manipuri community and Manipuri Students’ Association of Delhi (MSAD) that the complainant has not been guided and counseled satisfactorily. This has unfortunately allowed for her victimization, and has made a free and fair trial increasingly difficult. According to MSAD, for a free and fair trial all the people who were involved in the case and its reporting to the NCW should be properly investigated and also cautioned from communicating their personal views in the media to the detriment of the complainant and without acquiring proper consent from her.

We strongly believe that for a fair trial the Delhi Police should seriously look into the matter of intimidation and vilification of the victim. We take objection to the fact that the provision of rape-shield has not been made for the complainant so far – a measure that the Police should compulsorily take before and during the trial so that character assassination of complainants of rape cannot happen. All those involved in character assassination should be duly punished, and the Delhi Police, NCW and Human Rights Commission should take proper cognizance of the fact that some of the vigilante persons speaking on this case have been continuously making racist and gendered allegations against the complainant. The Police, in particular, should take cognizance of such unwanted interference in the case.

If the vilification of the complainant continues, MSAD has resolved to approach higher government and Police authorities, and push for stringent action against the compromising of a free and fair trial. Since a free and fair trial requires the following of the proper judicial process, we appeal to all concerned persons to desist from undue intervention in the judicial process. MSAD is keeping a close vigil on the developments of the case, and if the investigation process fails to be objective we will not hesitate from making an active intervention and to resort to all possible democratic means so that due judicial process can be pursued.

Chinglen Khumukcham
President
Manipur Students’ Association of Delhi (MSAD)