Skip to main content

Rajasthan labour activist's lynching: Swacch Bharat campaign blamed for "shaming" women defecating in open

By Our Representative
The lynching of Zafar Hussein, a political and trade union activist of Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, attached with the CPI-ML (Liberation), was the direct result of India’s ruling establishment’s approach to Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, the national cleanliness drive launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a detailed letter sent to Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje has alleged.
The lynching happened during the Swaach Bharat Abhiyan team's campaign in the presence of the municipality chairperson Ashok Jain at 6 am on June 16. Hussein belongs to the Mehtab Shah (Jagwas) Kachhi Basti houses, where more than 450 families of all castes and communities live.
“The women of the Mehtab Shah (Jagwas) Kachhi Basti have no option but to go to khal (a ditch) behind the Basti. The community toilets are too few and not functional, showing the failure of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”, Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, said in a letter sent to the chief minister, and forwarded as email alert to Counterview.
Pointing out that the lynching has taken place as a result of the policy of “shaming” especially women, defecating in the open, the letter says, “To indulge in shaming via taking photographs of people when they are relieving themselves as a policy in Swach Bharat Abhiyan is to put the onus on the poor that they are responsible for this condition; it also encourages men to commit the act of sexual violence, including voyeurism where women are concerned as we saw in the case of Pratapgarh.”
Those who have signed the letter include well-known activists Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Kavita Srivastava, Bhanwar meghwanahi, Kailash Meena, Harkesh Bugalia, Mamta Jaitly, Renuka Pamecha, Komal Srivastava, RD Vyas, among others.
According to the letter, “It is ironic that before this incident Hussein had repeatedly written to the municipality, including his last letter-cum-press note on the June 14, which states that money which came for toilets to be constructed in Ward No 2 was diverted by the municipality officials, which showed the prejudicial behaviour of the municipality.”
Hussein had complained that the public toilets in the basti were “non-functional due to negligence on the part of the municipality”, even as seeking help of Rs 12,000 per toilet to individual households earmarked under the Abhiyan. He had added, how safai Karamcharis, on a daily basis, would chase women, taking their photographs with their mobile cameras “while they were relieving themselves, and also grabbed them.”
Kavita Srivastava
Case of sexual violence
Calling the lynching a clear act of “sexual violence”, the letter said, June 16, 2017 was the fourth day when the team of safai karamcharis committed the crime under section 354C of the Indian Penal Code, which states that “any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act … shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment…”
"Private act" is defined in as one “includes an act of watching carried out in a place … where the victim's genitals, posterior or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory…”
Insisting that the safai karmacharis had “no right to go near the women when they were relieving themselves”, the letter said, “What is shocking is that not only did they go too close to where the women were, encroaching on their privacy, they also started kicking their water containers and to top it all started taking photographs of women in a state of undress.”
Pointing out that all this happened in the presence of the chairperson of the municipality, Ashok Jain, the letter said, “When the women objected, the men from the basti came running out, which included Zafar Hussain, who intervened and stopped the men from invading the privacy of the women. He was instead targeted and beaten brutally to death.”
Identifying the culprits as Kamal Harijan, Ritesh Harijan, Manish Harijan and Ashok Jain, the letter said, “Instead of taking Hussein to the hospital the karamcharis sped away in their vehicle to lodge an FIR against him under sections 332 and 353 at the behest of the municipal commissioner of having beaten up the safai karamcharis and obstructed them in governmental duty.”
Regretting that, despite post mortem under public pressure, no arrests have happened, the letter demands, “immediate suspension and arrest of all the three safai karamcharis and the chairperson of the municipality”, adding, “The family be given a compensation of Rs 1 crore” and there should be immediate “construction of community and individual toilets in the Jagwas Kachhi Basti.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”