Breaking the silence against imposed “martyrdom”

During the last few months, there has been a wave of praise in the mainstream and social media for an Indian documentary film on IPC section 498A entitled “Martyrs of Marriage”. The filmmaker, Deepika Bhardwaj, has been extolled not only for technical excellence in filmmaking, but has also been elevated as the messiah for men. Recently, there has also been an expected, well-justified and visible pushback from the men’s movement in India, because the movie is anachronistic, it promotes a feminist lie, misrepresents men’s rights activists (MRAs) and undermines the men’s rights movement (MRM), which provided much support, information and content for the film.

 

The perspective of the men’s movement and the reasons for the pushback require a close look at the history, significance and purpose of the men’s movement, and the factual narrative that Indian MRAs have fought to establish over the last 10-13 years. It would involve learning, in depth, about why IPC 498A is a malicious law and not a law made to save lives as claimed by the film. People who are not interested in this academic exercise are bound to look to the documentary film as an authentic source of information, representative of MRAs and the entire length, breadth and depth of the MRM.

 

I would urge everyone to make the effort to know more about the MRM, MRAs and why they would vehemently oppose the only film which claims to give them a voice and show their side of the story; and why MRAs would oppose a filmmaker, who is sympathetic towards a men’s issue, becoming the face of the MRM and the “voice of men”.

 

To this end, I will direct the attention of the readers towards certain crucial but invisible aspects that do not require you to have any background in the MRM, but just require basic human intelligence to understand.

 

Every person who is arrested and imprisoned based on a false complaint goes through a phase where they are dying to scream out to the world that they are not criminals. They are stigmatized in the society, they are vilified by the media, and pushed into a corner so much so that the only thought that dominates the person’s existence is the need to NOT be identified as a criminal. There are many who experience the need to be identified as victims, and they want their personal narrative to be heard by someone, especially by those who hold the power to influence the social and political narrative, such as journalists, filmmakers, celebrities and politicians.

 

However, victimhood is an affliction suffered by but a fraction of individuals who are implicated in false cases. Unfortunately though, individuals and entities that control the narrative do not understand that a need to “not be identified as criminal” does not automatically translate into a “need to be identified as a victim”. As a result, even sympathetic journalists and filmmakers impose victimhood and martyrdom on everyone because victimhood sells, and is seen as the only way to bring attention to problems.  

 

This kind of victimhood is a state of mind, and it does not have anything to do with what life throws at us, false cases included. MRAs who have counseled hundreds of affected men observe that “men carrying victimhood for long periods of time works like an addiction which eventually destroys them. MRAs also feel that fostering or nurturing perpetual victimhood in victimized people is a feminist recipe and does not bode well for any society”. Over the last 10 years, MRAs have worked very hard to exctricate men from this sense of victimhood, to empower them to stand up for themselves, and to take responsibility for changing not just malevolent laws like 498a, but the overall social mindset which sees males as disposable.

legal terrorism

When a person does not wallow in victimhood, it is assumed that they are either culpable or that they do not experience any pain. It takes much time and struggle to gather the voice to deny criminality, to maintain the resolve, and fight to the finish to establish one’s innocence in the courts of law. Every person who has walked out of the court after hearing the words “acquitted” knows the feeling of taking a full breath of air, walking with their head held high, with the kind of satisfaction and joy that the heart does not seem enough to hold.

 

Everyday, the mainstream media keeps declaring innocent people as criminals without trial for the sake of political correctness and ratings. To those who have experienced it, acquittal means restoring one’s honor and dignity, even though one may have lost many years, dear ones, life’s savings and all the things one has given one’s life to. It is such a profoundly liberating experience, that the voice, which for many years, wanted to scream “I am not a criminal”, now wants to scream “I won” until the sound of vindication reverberates all over. MRAs have always fought, worked hard to empower and encourage others to fight, to demonstrate that we are real people and not mere numbers or data points in the National Crime Records Bureau. However, the voice of the acquitted is never heard because the mainstream media chooses to be deliberately silent about them.

acquitted cropped

As a fellow MRA rightly pointed out to me, given the status quo, “a journalist independently gaining the trust of people who have been victimized by 498A is difficult, and to make them to open up to any publicity via documentaries is even more difficult”. When a journalist comes along, claiming to want to make a film or write about us, members of the movement are always inclined to project individuals who have won their cases to narrate their stories. This is because a person who is still fighting a trial always fears a backlash from his opposition, the police or the court of law. He or she does not want to take the risk of being disbelieved or ridiculed by others because an individual’s story is not considered credible unless their cases have ended in acquittal.  

 

Therefore, when the documentary filmmaker in question approached the Indian MRM for interviews of affected individuals, she was also directed to meet individuals who had been acquitted some years ago. Revisiting profound personal tragedies, many years after the fact and years after acquittal is an ordeal in itself, and not something anybody would want to do. However, MRAs, who chose to take one for the team, reluctantly opened up to the filmmaker who promised to highlight these stories as those of hope and triumph to inspire others to fight. MRAs unravelled personal details to demonstrate that they are normal people, just as vulnerable as anyone else, and traced their own journey to victory, in parallel with their activism in the MRM to inspire everyone to be “that second mouse”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51lFmdChOA0

 

When these detailed accounts of gallant fight are edited, placed out of context and shown as stories of plight, and the filmmaker uses her film and her public image to promote victimhood, to become the face of MRM and the “voice of men” by lie of omission, one is bound to feel violated. The filmmaker silencing MRAs, by playing the victim card against them is an additional violation that needs to be overcome. Under such circumstances, it takes much time, effort and thought to gather the voice to say “I am not a victim”, and to initiate a meaningful conversation around the important issues concerning MRAs and the MRM. The struggle to deny this imposed martyrdom is just as emotionally excruciating as the one to deny imposed criminality.

 

It is important to recognize that there is little difference between journalists painting us as criminals for TRPs and filmmakers misrepresenting MRAs as victims just to make the cut in their career.

 

In this context, it is also important to look at how different individuals who approach the movement identify themselves in very different ways. Many individuals approach the movement for help, but always remain aloof as individuals, see themselves as unique in their hardships, feel entitled to support and help, look for a quick fix and an easy exit. They are the victims looking for a messiah, preferably in female form. In their myopic view, anybody, even a filmmaker, who can offer them a temporary vicarious experience and fleeting hope for change, is a savior. These victims would be willing to let a whole movement and the collective hard work of all the MRAs who dedicated their lives to it, be sacrificed on the altar of their personal desire for quick relief and freedom. Longtime MRAs are usually glad to take one for the team, but everyone must realize that exploitation of personal tragedies, for any reason, is an insult to the dear ones whose honor we fight and win for. It is an insult to the MRM, which gave us life and that we gave our lives to.  

 

While the film, which boasts of highlighting human struggle, ironically, undermines the same, there are some who have been foolish enough to believe and say that MRAs are jealous of a filmmaker’s success. MRAs have much to be proud of because they stand up and fight to restore their own honor and that of their families, and also empower others to fight. With no offense intended, it must be said that there is little to be “jealous” about a victim-turned-filmmaker, who has neither experienced nor understood what fighting means, and promotes victimhood among men.

 

Some MRAs have been demonized for saying that the filmmaker did not duly acknowledge the MRM and MRAs for their earnest contribution to the film, and for stating that the filmmaker is undermining the movement through calculated silence. While I leave it to experts to comment on the technical excellence of the film, I propose a thought experiment and ask the reader to imagine what the filmmaker’s reaction would have been, had someone taken all the credit for her hard work, through lies of omission. MRAs have been maintaining a dignified silence about this issue for several months, but when a filmmaker takes advantage of her popularity to undermine a long-standing movement, and becomes the “voice of men” by lies of omission, silence is no longer an option.

 

Sree Krishna Janamasthaanam

Sree Krishna Janamasthaanam

The state of our prisons and the making of our Prison State

by Uma Challa

(Published by MyIndMakers)

IMG_1254-2

Media sensationalization of crimes against women is not new to India, neither is the diversely vociferous public response. Just within this decade, starting from “youth icon and female role model”, Nisha Sharma in 2003, all the way to “braveheart”, Jasleen Kaur, in 2015, we have witnessed several cases in which the media has held trials and pronounced “guilty” verdicts against the accused as soon as a complaint was lodged or an FIR was filed. We have witnessed the bloodthirsty lynching mob mentality of a sizable section of Indian public. In each instance, we have also heard quite a few sane voices on various forums, pleading the media and the public to exercise self-restraint and to allow the law of the land to take its course.

In the recent times, especially in the wake of the Rohtak sisters’ and Jasleen Kaur’s cases, enough has been said about the perils of media trials and ignorant demands for extrajudicial punishments. However, little has been said about what “law taking its course” means today, how it impacts the lives of the many who are accused, whether or not they are guilty of a crime. Much less has been said about how we have become a prison state by approving virtually every possible draconian law in the name of curbing crimes against women, condoning arbitrary arrests of ordinary citizens, and imprisoning them in deplorable conditions.

Here is the data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showing the number of arrests made under cognizable and non-bailable offences against women, the number of accused who were pronounced guilty by the end of year 2013 and the number of undertrials under the same laws, in prisons all over India at the end of year 2013.
PrisonData-2

As seen in the above table, a total of 3,90,038 people were arrested and jailed in one year, only under the above mentioned crimes against women.

There have been a total of 15,075 convictions in one year, which is a mere 3.86 percent of the total number of arrests made only within that year, under these specific crimes against women.

Ironically, a large percentage of prison population constitutes undertrials, meaning, they are in prison without being pronounced guilty. Most of them are under detention not because they might tamper with evidence nor because they are convicted (pending appeal or otherwise). Repeated adjournments of bail hearings due to an overload of cases in courts, poverty and the resultant inability to furnish the required surety, illiteracy and ignorance about legal procedures involved in obtaining bail, shoddy investigation and corruption are the main reasons which contribute to the indefinite detention or delays in release of the accused under bail. Every year, the largest number of undertrials spend upto 3 months in jail, and the number stood at 1,05,457 in year 2013 alone. In the same year, the number of undertrials who spent between 3-6 months in jail was 59,344 and the number that spent between 6-12 months in jail was 49,155. (NCRB statistics, 2013)

The total number of undertrials specifically under crimes against women (mentioned in the table above), in prisons all over India at the end of year 2013 is 40,739.

In essence, among the 55,814 inmates imprisoned for these specific crimes against women, 73 percent are undertrials. This is in accordance with the overall picture, whereby 68 percent of all Indian prison inmates, under every crime listed in the Indian Penal Code, are undertrials.

While the total available prison capacity in India is 3,47,859 inmates, the actual total occupancy of prisons in India is 4,11,992. Thus, there are an excess of 64,133 inmates in our entire prison system, and the total occupancy rate of Indian prisons stands at 118 percent. Not only are the prisons overcrowded, but they are also understaffed.

As a result, prisons, which are, in principle, meant for isolation, and if possible reformation of socially dangerous elements, have now become places for confinement of ordinary citizens accused of all sorts of crimes regardless of their nature or gravity. Unnecessary arrests and imprisonment, and overcrowding of jails, combined with insufficient prison staff and unbearable living conditions have made prisons breeding grounds for depression, anger and violence, not to mention infectious diseases too.

Due to the overburdened judiciary, there are thousands of undertrials who stay imprisoned for periods longer than the term prescribed as punishment for their crimes. Here, it would be useful to note that of the total number of cases pending during year 2013 (including cases pending trial from the previous year), only 15.2 percent of cases have been disposed off by courts (this figure includes cases which were compounded or withdrawn and cases which have resulted in convictions or acquittals). A whopping 84.8 percent of cases remain pending at the end of year 2013. (NCRB statistics, 2013)

Under these circumstances, taking advantage of legal loopholes and biases to have men thrown in prison merely based on a complaint, without evidence, investigation or trial, is one of the easiest methods to harass them. Viewed from the perspective of radical feminist masterminds behind women-centric laws, immediate arrests and incarceration provide instant “justice” (read revenge) to “victim” (read disgruntled) women. The widespread and growing tendency to get men jailed by hook or crook probably also reflects the Indian public’s loss of faith in the legal system, the police and the judiciary. In other words, we probably have extreme faith in the slowness and inefficiency of the system, and can imagine that once someone is pushed into a legal maelstrom, they will not get out of it easily, at least not without serious bruises to their spirit if not its complete annihilation.

The viciousness of our gender-biased laws is matched only by the audacity with which they are being abused every single day and the ignorance and apathy of the public, which turns a blind eye to such misuse. While the rampant misuse of laws is being instantaneously hailed as bravery and valour, sometimes even accompanied by announcement of rewards, the misery of many souls needlessly languishing in prisons is considered “law taking its course”, even by some of the most well meaning citizens, officials, opinion makers and leaders of our country.

Here, I must make an honest admission that I was one of the well-meaning but ignorant (if not downright apathetic) citizens myself. During my childhood, I remember people referring to the prison as “Sree Krishna Janmasthaanam”. I knew about Kamsa incarcerating Devaki and Vasudeva, not because they did any harm to him, his subjects or his kingdom, but only to escape the impending consequence of his own sins, namely, death in the hands of their divine child. Despite knowing this story of Krishna, for the longest time, I thought everyone inside the prison was a thief or a thug…but that’s only until I was granted the divine (and profoundly life changing) opportunity to visit prison myself. Ever since, and for almost  a decade now, I always look at a prison, not with fear or disdain, but with a certain melancholic fondness…I see “Sree Krishna Janmasthaanam”.

On the occasion of Sree Krishna Janmaashtami, I pray for the well-being and speedy release of all those who have been wrongly incarcerated in Indian prisons.

References:

Crime in India, 2013 – Compendium: http://ncrb.gov.in/CD-CII2013/compendium%202013.pdf

Prison Statistics India, 2013: http://ncrb.gov.in/PSI-2013/PrisonStat2013.htm

Time to Scrap Laws Which Turn Ordinary Men into Criminals!

Beginning Saturday, 4 October 2014, the death of Raghavendra Guruprasad and his two boys has been discussed in newspapers, on TV channels, and in the social media.

For those who have not heard about him, Guruprasad was an ordinary Indian male, with above average intelligence, who worked hard to get a good education, married for love ten years ago, had two boys with the woman he loved, and worked as an assistant professor at a University for a living. He was filled with thoughts of a long life of togetherness with his wife and children. Guruprasad wanted to ensure that his family, his most precious possession, remained intact, even if it meant that he had to face humiliation in private and public due to his wife, even if it meant he had to suffer physical abuse in the hands of his in-laws.

What Guruprasad was gifted in return was a package of lies, in the form of a divorce petition and a false criminal case under Section 498A of IPC. Despite being arrested, imprisoned and put through legal turmoil, and despite being physically separated from his wife and children, Guruprasad never gave up his efforts to reunite with them because he felt that his sons needed a father. He also desperately reached out to his wife only to be shunned and rejected over and over, which eventually led him to end his misery by taking his own life. Incidentally, Guruprasad had also written letters to various authorities that he could think of, pleading them to help him, before he gave up hope.

His last phone conversation with his wife, which is available online, was his last cry for help. He hinted at ending his life, and when his wife asked him (very coldly) as to what use it would be, he said, “I am not sure of what use it would be, but I am unable to endure this…”. When his wife asked him why he called and disturbed her, he replied saying, “You say that my phone calls disturb you, but I have been disturbed every moment that I have had to spend away from you, my family.” His 7-page suicide note describes his attachment to his wife and children, and the pain he was going through because of being forced to be away from them, and because of the social pressure and rejection he faced as a result.

If this was all there was to it, the print and electronic media would not have paid much attention. We would have seen a passing reference to “a faculty member of a University ending his life over marital woes”. The feminists would not have jumped up and down in live news rooms bashing him up, and along with him, the entire male gender, and using it as one more opportunity to highlight victimhood of women.

Guruprasad had written one last letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs about the sufferings of Indian men due to the draconian law, IPC Section 498A, and begged that it be scrapped so that more men do not have to suffer like him. For TV channels that love airing high-pitched verbal battles between feminists and men’s rights activists, this was definitely a topic they could milk to increase their TRPs during primetime news.

However, the main reason Guruprasad’s story grabbed so much attention was because he allegedly killed his sons before ending his own life. The feminists, the self-professed psychologists and psychoanalysts, and certain sections of the media isolated this specific detail, and made it a topic of discussion, to label Guruprasad “a psycho”, “a maniac”, “an inhuman, barbaric creature”, “a disgrace to mankind”, and more. They asserted that the filing of criminal sections and the divorce case against Guruprasad were justified, because he eventually turned out to be a violent savage, a pervert, a deliberate criminal, and a cold-blooded murderer. While IPC Section 498A has been facing sharp criticism from various quarters in the recent past, the feminists, in a desperate bid to defend the poisonous fruit of their labor, spared no effort to malign Guruprasad’s character and life as a whole.

The fact that Guruprasad fought and won rights to visit his children for a few hours, two days in a month, speaks about his fatherly love. The fact that the children were always excited and happy to meet with their father says a lot about how much the children loved him. Guruprasad’s suicide note reveals how much he cared about his boys, and in one part of his note he even mentions his worry about the fact that his wife treated his sons badly. It is hard to imagine how badly Guruprasad’s heart and spirit were broken that he chose to take his boys along with him. It is not hard to imagine that he may have worried about the fate of his boys growing up and surviving in an increasingly anti-male society before taking the drastic step.

During a conversation about Guruprasad’s tragedy, a friend said, “You know, it’s not two murders and a suicide…it’s three murders…” I was speechless for a moment. “Indeed!”, I thought, “it’s three murders”. The anti-male society, the feminists, the police, the legal system and judiciary, had together mutilated Guruprasad’s spirit beyond recognition and killed him, and, are thereby guilty of killing his children too. The same feminists who are berating Guruprasad for “murdering children”, would show no mercy towards the boys once they grow up into adults, and end up being emotionally castrated and slowly killed because of social misandry and brutal anti-male laws.

It is quite easy to pass moral judgments against Guruprasad, but it would be good to resist that temptation and understand that it is extremely difficult for a common man to endure the trauma caused by false allegations, fabricated criminal cases (especially those filed by an intimate partner) and long drawn trials to prove his innocence. Thousands of ordinary men may have had the thought of committing murder or suicide, under similar circumstances, but a very small proportion of men actually act on it. Most men, who are otherwise bright, energetic, and capable of contributing their unique talents, knowledge and physical labor to the country, live miserable lives and die a little everyday, thanks to laws like IPC 498A.

I recall Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Speech in which he vowed to get rid of all the archaic, inane and useless laws, which make life difficult for the common citizen, and prevent him from functioning effectively in the society. He should have pinned socially dangerous laws like IPC 498A and the Domestic Violence Act and useless laws like the Dowry Prohibition Act to the top of the list.

The English rulers had gifted us with a self-serving legal system to destroy the social fabric of India and create a host of problems for the common man. During the next 66 years, the Congress Party and its Leftist allies enacted more and more laws only to create more and more problems, without ever resolving the existing ones. These past Governments, the law makers, the feminists, the police, and the judiciary are the actual reason why common law-abiding citizens like Guruprasad are driven to commit unimaginable crimes.

Guruprasad’s incident is not the first of its kind, but if we don’t want more such incidents to occur in the future, we need to say “NO” to State intervention in and criminalization of personal and family relationships. We don’t want a lawless society, but we will definitely benefit from becoming a society with less laws…and the first law that should be trashed is IPC Section 498A…YES…but that would require the present Government to exhibit the same courage and determination in tackling rabid feminism as they would to tackle terrorism.

Men Are Human Too

Today, 10 December 2009, marks the conclusion of the “16 Days of Activism Against Global Feminist Terrorism” by All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) and All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA).

Today, UN and all countries around the world are also observing Human Rights Day, with “non-discrimination” as this year’s theme.

Commenting on this year’s theme Mr. Ban Ki-moon said, “Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different.”

Most people will not miss seeing the word “men” in the list of “vulnerable groups” mentioned above. I am sure majority of men, including the UN Secretary General himself, do not know that they belong in the list.

This is not surprising, as Mr. Ban Ki-moon himself said, “It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists — and that it exists for them.”

During our 16 Days of Activism Against Global Feminist Terrorism, we highlighted the serious human rights abuses that men are subjected to in the name of women’s rights and the collateral damages suffered by women, children and families.

While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights claims to be “a reaffirmation of the faith of the peoples of the UN in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women”, it is amply clear that in most parts of the world, men are not treated with the dignity and respect that human beings deserve.

On the contrary, social and legal discrimination against men and violation of their human rights are now projected as praiseworthy goals for all present nations and future generations.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

In blatant violation of all the above rights, thousands of husbands and their families are arbitrarily arrested every year, without evidence or investigation, under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related laws which presume that the accused are “guilty until proved innocent”.

India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has noted the misuse of dowry laws, arrest of innocent individuals and the resultant overcrowding of prisons. NHRC has urged the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to take measures against these abuses.

Nevertheless, police routinely enter people’s homes at ungodly hours, take accused individuals into custody, and incarcerate them without bail for variable lengths of time, ranging from a couple of days to several months. Innocent citizens are illegally detained, humiliated, subjected to mental and physical torture, blackmail and extortion, driving many to commit suicide. The honor and reputation of these accused individuals is attacked through media trial and unrestrained slander by feminists every day.

The Universal Declaration of Human rights states:

  • Men and women are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • All are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Family and marriage related laws in India exhibit nothing but discrimination against men and fathers. Men are blatantly denied social and legal protection from domestic abuse. Men suffering domestic abuse are compelled to endure several years of legal harassment and are often denied divorce citing “lack of strong grounds”.

Men also endure false allegations of abuse made by wives seeking divorce, and end up with a divorce they never wanted. Fathers are ruthlessly denied contact with their children, and forced to pay exorbitant sums of money as alimony and child support.

The Universal Declaration of Human rights states:

  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

The Indian Domestic Violence Act empowers a wife to violate marital norms with impunity and claim residence and maintenance from the husband. Many men and their families are thrown out of or deprived freedom of movement in their own homes, upon baseless allegations of abuse made by unscrupulous wives.

Mr. Ban ki-moon asserts, “It is our duty to ensure that these (human) rights are a living reality — that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.”

It is ironical that the United Nations and its affiliate organizations sponsor these human rights violations and legal terrorism through feminist initiatives claiming to uplift and empower women.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day 2009, AIMWA and AIFWA urge you to raise your voice against global feminist terrorism, which is responsible for large scale human rights abuses against men and their kin.

We demand that the UN declares “Men are human too” as the theme for Human Rights Day 2010.


Other articles featured during the 16 Days of Activism:

Day 1: 16 Days of Activism Against Global Feminist Terrorism November 25 – December 10

http://aimwa.in/16-days-of-activism-against-global-feminist-terrorism-november-25-december-10

Day 2: Fact sheet on domestic violence against men in India

http://aimwa.in/fact-sheet-on-domestic-violence-against-men-in-india

Day 3: Beware boys! The female Taliban is coming for you!

http://aimwa.in/beware-boys-the-female-taliban-is-coming-for-you

Day 4: One in three victims of family violence is male

http://aimwa.in/one-in-three-victims-of-family-violence-is-male

Day 5: Rape Law: YES can mean NO

http://aimwa.in/rape-law-yes-can-mean-no

Day 6: Misuse of Sec. 498A of IPC and Dowry Prohibition Act

http://aimwa.in/misuse-of-sec-498a-of-ipc-and-dowry-prohibition-act

Day 7: Compromising National Security to Address Feminist Insecurity?

http://aimwa.in/compromising-national-security-to-address-feminist-insecurity

Day 8: The Myth of Women’s Oppression

http://aimwa.in/the-myth-of-women%e2%80%99s-oppression

Day 9: Domestic Violence – The Industry of Lies

http://aimwa.in/domestic-violence-%e2%80%93-the-industry-of-lies

Day 10: The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

http://aimwa.in/the-paradox-of-declining-female-happiness

Day 11: Watch Out for Paternity Fraud!

http://aimwa.in/watch-out-for-paternity-fraud

Day 12: Feminists: So Say One, So Say Them All

http://aimwa.in/feminists-so-say-one-so-say-them-all

Day 13: Dowry death and bride burning: A look beyond the smoke screen

http://aimwa.in/dowry-death-and-bride-burning-a-look-beyond-the-smoke-screen

Day 14: “Committed to the cause of women” – The Trojan Horse of Indian Feminism

http://aimwa.in/committed-to-the-cause-of-women-the-trojan-horse-of-indian-feminism

Day 15: Fatherless Society – The Feminist Utopia

http://aimwa.in/fatherless-society-%e2%80%93-the-feminist-utopia

Dowry death and bride burning: A look beyond the smoke screen

The phrase “bride burning” conjures up images of a cruel husband and his family members dousing a young woman in kerosene, flinging a lighted matchstick on her and gloating as the hapless bride goes up in flames. The term “dowry death” also sparks off vivid imaginations of a woman being taunted and harassed for money and finally, hanged to death within the four walls of her house. We also have watched movies and TV serials where a malicious mother-in-law poisons the unsuspecting daughter-in-law’s meal or quietly causes a gas leak and locks the new bride in the kitchen right before she lights the stove to make tea for the family.

There must be many families who burn their brides for dowry as a routine practice otherwise, why would there be so many news reports about dowry deaths? As they say, there cannot be smoke without a fire. Right?

Feminists would have you believe that every unnatural or untimely death of a married Indian woman is dowry death. Not only that, the feminist hyperbole on “bride killing” and “dowry harassment” makes it look like Indian men have an uncanny propensity to commit violence on their wives for money, while men in other countries commit domestic violence for other reasons.

In reality, it is the number of registered suicides of married women which are passed off as statistics of dowry death, and even these numbers are almost always exaggerated. It has become a custom to claim that all the women have been “driven to suicide” due to dowry harassment.1-6 The husband and in-laws are immediately arrested under IPC Sections 304B and 498A and incarcerated for a couple of weeks to several months without bail. They are promptly subjected to media trial and labeled criminals even before investigation or trial can begin.

Even if all the noise about Indian brides being “driven to suicide” for dowry is indeed well-founded, one would expect that the number of suicides of married women would be significantly higher compared to that of unmarried women. However, the National Crime Records Bureau’s statistics show that there is no significant difference in the rates of suicide by married and unmarried women.

Justice Saldana’s remarks (in Crl.A. no. 589 of 2003) are testimony to how anti-dowry laws are being misused to the detriment of innocent citizens:

…we need to sound a note of caution that the police and investigating authorities should not improperly and technically jump to the conclusion that merely because death has occurred that ipso facto a criminal offense has been committed . In as many as 44% of these cases prosecution is thoroughly unjustified. Unless there is cogent and convincing evidence and unless there is material to sustain these charges, it would be totally impermissible and completely unjustified to embark upon legal action. The consequences of these charges are extremely grave because the accused husband and invariably family members are placed under arrest. There are serious social and economic repercussions.

The fact that we do come across considerable number of instances where prosecution was unjustified seems to indicate that in every case of death of young woman or recently married women that prosecution and filing of charge sheet has become automatic. There does not appear to be a proper application of mind at the stage of scrutiny and having regard to this position we direct the concerned authorities to ensure that requirements of the law are correctly and responsibly followed.

It is important to note that more than 56,000 married Indian men end their lives every year. According to statistics obtained from the National Crime Records Bureau, every year, twice as many married men, compared to women, commit suicides unable to withstand verbal, emotional, economic and physical abuse by their wives and in-laws. Deaths of these men make for the brief stories we often read in newspapers stating that a certain man “killed himself due to family issues or financial problems”. 7-12

Thanks to the concerted efforts of the feminists, thousands of men are also becoming victims of “legal terrorism” unleashed through laws like Sections 498A and 304B of the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, adultery laws, laws against rape and sexual harassment, and even divorce, maintenance and child custody laws. Many men are ending their lives unable to endure the fear, humiliation and trauma caused by the legal harassment.13-18

While it is insisted that the death of every young married woman is a case of dowry death requiring immediate arrest of the husband and in-laws, accompanied by media-hype, male-bashing and breast-beating, driving thousands of men to commit suicide is considered social service in India.

Feminists have always wanted “dowry harassment” and “bride burning” to remain hot issues that fuel the Indian Domestic Violence Industry.

The feminist Taliban will surely burn in rage as we look beyond the smoke screen and call their bluff.

1.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/kem-doctor-suicide-police-register-dowry-case-against-husband/407514/
2.    http://www.thehindu.com/2007/02/11/stories/2007021114290300.htm
3.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/fivemonth-pregnant-woman-commits-suicide-3-held-for-dowry-harassment/275318/’
4.    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/woman-commits-suicide-husband-held/494150/
5.    http://www.hindu.com/2007/03/28/stories/2007032823500500.htm
6.    http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_techie-held-for-suicide-of-wife_1252098
7.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Husband-commits-suicide-after-wife-calls-him-ugly-impotent/articleshow/3781322.cms
8.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Man-pining-for-separated-son-commits-suicide/articleshow/4382247.cms
9.    http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/kolkata/Man-commits-suicide-on-metro-tracks/Article1-475927.aspx
10.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/Man-commits-suicide/articleshow/5276875.cms
11.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Man-commits-suicide-at-Delhi-metro-station/432125/
12.    http://www.kolkatamirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=13&contentid=2009111320091113132759296662d0415&sectxslt=
13.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/ministers-gunner-kills-self-fearing-dowry-charges-against-family/463274/
14.    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/False-dowry-case-Man-kills-self/270124/
15.    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=%E2%80%98Harassed%E2%80%99+husband+commits+suicide&artid=QlzZUAwpVaA=&SectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&MainSectionID=wIcBMLGbUJI=&SectionName=UOaHCPTTmuP3XGzZRCAUTQ==&SEO=
16.    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/19204/treated-cruelly-wife-techie-ends.html
17.    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/PSI-shoots-himself-dead-with-service-revolver/articleshow/5249121.cms
18.    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?section=subcontinent&xfile=data/subcontinent/2008/february/subcontinent_february242.xml

AIFW Supports CrPC Amendment Bill 2008

Smt. Pratibha Patil,
Hon’ble President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi , India – 110004.

Sub: Memorandum in support of CrPC Amendment Bill 2008

Her Excellency,

We, the members of All India Forgotten Women (Regd.), are writing to thank you for approving the recent Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, 2008 passed by the Parliament. Specifically, amendment of Section 41 of CrPC which redefines police powers of arrest is a step in the right direction to uphold basic human rights and constitutional rights of the citizens of India.

We are aware that certain Bar Associations are protesting against the amendment of Section 41 redefining powers of the police in relation to arresting accused individuals. However, we would like to congratulate and thank you for approving the amendment which imposes greater accountability on the law enforcement machinery while carrying out arrests.

Abuse of police powers and making unnecessary arrests have become commonplace in the recent times. In the last 4 years alone, 1,23,000 women (one woman every 21 minutes) have been arrested under IPC Section 498A merely on the basis of a complaint and without any evidence or investigation. It must also be noted that according to statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2007, an overwhelming 94% of the individuals arrested under IPC Section 498A were found not guilty. A closer look at individual cases under Section 498A reveals that arrests are made by lower cadre police officials without proper justification and only with the intent of terrorizing innocent citizens and extorting money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.

The recent amendment of Section 41 of CrPC regarding arrests will help in better enforcement of laws without violating human rights and constitutional rights of citizens. It will also ensure that courts are not over-burdened by false cases, thereby speeding up the process of delivering justice in genuine cases.

Thank you once again for approving the CrPC Amendment Bill of 2008.

Sincerely,

All India Forgotten Women

Copy to:

D. Manmohan Singh (Prime Minister of India), Shri. Hansraj Bharadwaj (Ministry of Law & Justice), Shri. P Chidambaram (Ministry of Home Affairs), Member Secretary – Law Commission of India, Ms. Sonia Gandhi (UPA Chairperson), Shri. L. K. Adavani (Leader of Opposition in Parliament).

NCW’s recommendations to address “unnatural deaths” of married women are unreasonable

11th July 2008

To,
Ms. Renuka Chaudhary,
Minister, Government of India,
Ministry of Women and Child Development,
Shastri Bhavan `A’ Wing,
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road,
New Delhi-110001

Sub: NCW’s recommendations to address “unnatural deaths” of married women are unreasonable

Dear Minister,

We, the members of All India Forgotten Women, are writing to express concern over the unending stream of unreasonable amendments to laws pertaining to women recommended by National Commission for Women (NCW).

Barely a week after NCW made ridiculous recommendations on awarding maintenance for live-in-partners and adulterous wives, it is now pushing for broadening of the Dowry Prohibition Act, so that unnatural death of a woman at ANY stage of her marriage qualifies as dowry death.

At present, unnatural death of a woman within seven years of her marriage is considered as dowry death, attracting punishment to the accused husband and relatives under Section 304(B). While the current seven year rule and the automatic presumption of “dowry death” is in itself is absurd, NCW opines that there should not be any time limit on registering unnatural death of a married woman as dowry death i.e. death caused due to demands for dowry.

Unnatural death “is a category used by coroners and vital statistics specialists for classifying all human deaths not properly describable as death by natural causes. Hence it would include events such as accident, execution, homicide, misadventure (being attacked by insects, reptiles, fishes, lions, tigers, bears, stingrays, or other wild animals), adverse outcome of surgery, suicide, terrorism, war.”

Any person, male or female, married or unmarried, may die an unnatural death due to any of the above causes. Among these, homicide (murder) is the only cause which unambiguously qualifies as a crime that can be committed by one person on another, and is already covered under IPC Section 302. It is, therefore, obvious that providing a Criminal Section specifically to deal with dowry murder is redundant, and only reflects gender bias.

In addition to murder, abetment of suicide is also a crime and punishable under IPC Section 306 which addresses both male and female victims. Therefore, once again, it is unnecessary to have duplications and special provisions in law like Section 304(B) and Section 498(A) to address suicides of women.

Most cases recorded as “dowry death” involve women who died by accident or by committing suicide.

Data from the National Crime Records Bureau indicates that there is no difference between the rate of suicide of married women and never married women. However, radical organizations like NCW would have us believe that every death of a married woman is a dowry death, without providing any justification for such presumption.

Recent data from the National Crime Records Bureau indicate that nearly twice as many married men, compared to married women, commit suicide every year, unable to withstand verbal, emotional, economic and physical abuse and legal harassment by their wives. While every death of a young married woman is converted into a case of dowry death leading to immediate arrest of the husband and in-laws, followed by a prompt media trial, large-scale suicides of men do not cause any outrage.

Gender obsessed women’s activists also refuse to admit the fact that accidental deaths are also equally likely among men and women. Therefore, it has become routine for police to arrest the husband and his relatives and book them under several sections including, IPC 498(A), 304(B), and Dowry Prohibition Act, every time a deceased woman’s relatives claim that she had been killed or driven to death/suicide for dowry. This is the case even when there are suicide notes or dying declarations absolving everyone including the husband of any responsibility for the woman’s suicide or death. There have even been instances where fake dowry death cases were registered and the “deceased” wife was found to be alive after the accused husband and in-laws were refused bail and imprisoned.

While husbands and their relatives are under constant suspicion leading to frequent violation of their basic human rights, wives are rarely ever questioned leave alone prosecuted if a husband dies or ends his life under similar circumstances. Media finds no incentive in highlighting the truth about abused men. People in power find no financial or political mileage to be gained from taking measures to prevent unnatural deaths of men.

The recent demise of Pushkar Singh is one of the countable few cases that at least caught some media attention. Sadly, even though his suicide note bears evidence to the fact that he was financially and emotionally destroyed because of false criminal cases filed against him and his family by his wife, she was not even called in for questioning by the police until family rights activists like us mounted pressure on them. One can only imagine the fate of cases where men take their lives silently, leaving no note behind. Deaths of these men make for the brief stories in newspapers stating that a certain man “killed himself due to family issues or financial problems”.

NCW is trying to appear very generous by recommending that “arrests of the immediate family members not be made till they are proved guilty”. Why should any individual (man or woman) be arrested unless there is strong basis to believe that they committed the alleged crime? Why is it alright to arrest a husband based on a presumption of dowry death (i.e. murder or abetment of suicide) when the same rule is not applied to a wife upon the unnatural death of the husband? As per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every human being (irrespective of age, sex or any other criterion) charged of a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Through its recommendations, NCW is suggesting that husbands do not count as humans or that they are not entitled to the same basic human rights as others.

Spreading blatant lies and alarmism about increasing crime against women, while ignoring similar abuses and crime against men, may be a lucrative means for radical organizations like NCW to justify their existence and to attract funds from national and international organizations. However, NCW has still to answer some fundamental questions pertaining to women’s welfare.

Is the pain of a mother who lost a son to domestic abuse or legal terrorism any less than that of a mother who lost a daughter? Is the pain of a woman who lost a brother any less than that of a woman who lost a sister?
How many more mothers and sisters should lose their sons and brothers before measures are taken to alleviate their sufferings?
Aren’t mothers and sisters women? Don’t they deserve a life of dignity and respect?
Do sufferings of innocent mothers and sisters bring justice to genuinely abused women?
Is protection of women’s rights synonymous with gross violation of basic human rights?
Is legal terrorism the solution to all women’s problems?

NCW pretends to possess proprietary rights on deciding what is good or bad for women’s empowerment in India. Through its anti-male, anti-family recommendations, NCW is posing a serious threat to the well-being of our families, especially that of our fathers, brothers and sons. We strongly condemn NCW’s radical proposals.

In the interest of justice, fairness and equality to both genders, we, the members of All India Forgotten Women, make the following recommendations:

• Section 304(B) should not be retained in the law; IPC Section 302 already covers murder and IPC Section 306 covers abetment of suicide, and therefore Section 304(B) is only a duplication of law, which is gender-biased.
• All cases of murder, including murder for dowry should be dealt with under IPC Section 302.
• All cases of abetment of suicide, including those allegedly done for dowry, should be dealt with under IPC Section 306.
• If IPC Section 304(B) is not removed from Indian law, then it should be amended and made applicable to men and women equally. Specifically, the word “husband/wife” should be replaced by the word “spouse”.
• Section 304(B) treats the accused as guilty until proven innocent, thus, violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which proclaims that “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty”. The law needs to be amended so that no arrests of any of the accused (man, woman or child) are made without proper investigation and written approval of police officials of the rank of DCP or above.
• Those who misuse Section 304(B) for settling personal scores should be heavily penalized because false allegations and prosecution can cause irreparable damage to the accused parties even if they are later declared not guilty.

We hope that you will take our recommendations into serious consideration and promote justice irrespective of gender.

Thanking you.

Sincerely,

Uma Challa
President
All India Forgotten Women

Please click the link below for pdf version

aifwtowcd_section304b_finaldraft