Nun: Police did nothing as mob raped me

October 25, 2008

Hiding her head and face behind a scarf, a Roman Catholic nun who accused a Hindu mob of raping and parading her half-naked through the streets in eastern India, appeared on television to appeal for justice. The Indian Express has the full text of her statament:

On August 24, around 4:30pm, hearing the shouting of a large crowd, at the gate of Divyajyoti Pastoral Centre, I ran out through the back door and escaped to the forest along with others. We saw our house going up in flames. Around 8:30 pm we came out of the forest and went to the house of a Hindu gentleman who gave us shelter.

On August 25, around1:30 pm, the mob entered the room where I was staying in that house, one of them slapped me on the face, caught my hair and pulled me out of the house. Two of them were holding my neck to cut off my head with an axe. Others told them to take me out to the road; I saw Fr. Chellan also being taken out and being beaten up. The mob consisting of 40-50 men was armed with lathis, axes, spades, crowbars, iron-rods, sickles etc.They took both of us to the main road. Then they led us to the burnt Janavikas building saying that they were going to throw us into the smouldering fire.

When we reached the Janavikas building, they threw me to the verandah on the way to the dining room which was full of ashes and broken glass pieces. One of them tore my blouse and others my undergarments.

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Afghans speak out against sexual violence

August 20, 2008

Nushin Arbabzadah in The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’:

“The moment I saw the blood-stained sandal, I knew that my child was dead,” said Abdul Khalid. Khalid, from Takhar province in northern Afghanistan, was talking about the day he discovered his eight-year-old daughter’s body. The girl had been kidnapped, raped and then killed. It turned out later that she was only one of the many child rape victims in the northern provinces of Afghanistan. There were others, children like the 12-year-old daughter of a man called Nurollah. Nurollah is from Sar-e Pul, also in the north. He says he knows the rapist, the son of an MP, and he wants justice for his child. He went all the way to Kabul in search of justice but they told him at the police station: “No one is going to listen to your story. Go home.”

In the past, this would have been the end of the story. Nurollah would have gone home and his story would have remained a private tale of injustice, a family secret disconnected from the wider Afghan society. Bad luck, basically. But we’re talking about Afghanistan in 2008.

[Nushin Arbabzadah was brought up in Kabul during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. She has degrees in German and Spanish literature from the University of Hamburg and in Middle Eastern studies from Cambridge University, where she was a William Gates scholar.]

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An assault on dignity

January 13, 2008

The Hindu

Kalpana Sharma takes a reality check on the New Year eve incident in Mumbai

Women

When 70 to 80 men surround two women, push them, touch them, pounce on them, it is not “molestation”; it is sexual assault. So before we even begin to discuss the incident that took place in the upmarket Mumbai suburb of Juhu in the early hours of January 1, 2008, we should call the crime by its real name.

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