New Delhi: Civil society groups organized a joint protest outside the Nagaland House in the national capital on 14th March 2015 Saturday condemning the last week’s lynching of a rape accused by a mob in Dimapur. Protesters later submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Nagaland through the Resident Commissioner.
The joint protest was organized by the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA), Jamia Students Solidarity Forum (JSSF) and ANHAD; and was supported by Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) and several human rights activists and groups.
In the memo submitted to the Governor, protesters have demanded a judicial probe to investigate the entire chain of events, including an impartial investigation into the complaint of the rape and the culmination in the public lynching, adding that the perpetrators of the violence should be identified and prosecuted. The jail and local civil administration must be held accountable for the fatal lapses which led to the killing, they asserted.
Protesters have also demanded that adequate compensation should be paid to the family of the slain man.
Kashif Ahmed Faraz, Asst. National Coordinator of APCR opined that Violence in the name of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants is an old propaganda and it has been escalated day by day for demographic change and political gain. There are numbers of targeted violence instigated like Nellie Massacre-1983 which caused hundreds of death and millions of displacement. APCR strongly condemn the Nagaland lynching, where a mob broke into the Dimapur Jail, dragged a rape accused out, stripped him naked and lynched him to death. This incident has also brought to the fore the total apathy and failure of the state machinery in the region.
Nandini Rao expressed that the Nagaland lynching episode has more to do with patriarchal power than gender justice. “It goes on to reaffirm the deeply held patriarchal notion that women are the property of a community and it is for the men to ‘safeguard’ their property. The fact that the Naga accomplice of the rape accused wasn’t harmed by the mob only shows that the real threat to the community wasn’t the alleged rape as much as it was the ‘’audacity’’ of the ‘’Bangladeshi’’ other to have laid a claim on the body of a Naga woman. This is nothing but a disservice to the rape complainant,” the statement said.
Tanveez Fazal, Jamia Teachers Solidarity Associations (JTSA) pointed out the “negative impact” that the incident could have at many levels, including increased communal-ethnic tension and hatred towards the Muslim minorities of the region, who are more than often profiled as Bangladeshi immigrants.
Manisha Sethi, JTSA said that an incident like this goes way beyond to stigmatize minorities within minorities in the country and further paves the ground for the already prevailing violence against them. As advocates for gender equality and sexuality rights, we strongly condemn such violence that pushes the agenda of human rights and gender justice into a misguided cycle of violence, incapable of producing justice as it is desired.
Criticising the media, Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD opined that it is indeed sad to see the callous and insensible reporting that adds on to these instances of heightened tension and chaos in times of conflict. Rape and gender violence is systemic in nature and one needs to understand the underlying nuances instead of looking into the same in isolation.”