Saturday, 29 June 2013

Proper guidance to the women who were falsely implicated in suicide case

Sheetal  Rajput and Jyoti are the accused of a suicide case. Sheetal’s husband committed suicide on 1st June 2013. He had left a suicidal note alleging that his wife is responsible for his suicide as she was having extra marital affair and her sister Jyoti was helping her. On the basis of suicidal note both were arrested on 1st June. The nighbours had given affidavit that Sheetal is innocent,she was getting trouble from her husband from the beginning of marriage. On 1st June they were sent to police remand for seven days by the Magistrate Court , Vasai. Ms. Pal a social activist and Ms. Sandhya Gohle from Forum against oppression of women had contacted Sakhya Women Guidance Cell to intervene into the matter. On 6th June the social worker Ms. Chatush Singh went to meet them in Nalasopara police station when they were in the police custody and got 5 minutes to talk to them. They informed the social worker about the case, when the social worker asked if they need a legal consultant, Jyoti said her husband has already engaged a lawyer.
The Social worker spoke to the husband of Jyoti over phone. She found that he was little confused over legal process. The social worker coordinated the advocate Kusum who was handling the case and got information. Accordingly she guided Jyoti’s husband.The advocate told the social worker that the bail petition has been moved in Session court, Vasai and it was fixed for hearing on 12th June . On 12th June the social worker phoned the advocate to know update of the case then she told that notice has been issued and it has been fixed for 14th June. On 14th June the social worker visited the court of Session Judge RS Joshi where bail petition was pending but that day Judge was overloaded with already pending petitions so it was again put for hearing on 15th June. On 15th June they both got bail on the order of furnishing one surety and 15000 bail bond for each.

Friday, 21 June 2013

 Training Anganwadi workers on Domestic Violence 

On 20th June 2013 Sakhya organized workshop (TOT) on domestic violence at Girij, Anganwadi Kendra in which 22 Anganwadi workers and helpers participated.
Objectives: To reach out to the women of 15 villages through training Anganwadi workers and helpers on domestic violence issue.
The resource person Mrs. Sunila Bhise began the workshop with introduction of Sakhya. She briefed the participants the importance of conducting Training of trainers (TOT) and informed that it is through TOT we can reach to a large number of women as one Anganwadi worker works with 500 families.
The resource person sensitized the participants on domestic violence issue sharing real life cases handled by Sakhya. She shared the community success story of action group that is helping the women to resolve community issues.  The resource person discussed how the lower status of women leads to domestic violence at home.
The workshop motivated the participants to stand against domestic violence and sensitize more women on the domestic violence issue who are linked with them.

    Sakhya as a helping hand in rescue operation

Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell provided helping hand to International Justice Mission (IJM) to undertake rescue operation in the red light area Mustafa Chawl at Kamathipura, Bombay central on 12th June 2013. The rescue team comprised of  three social workers from IJM, two  lawyers, a senior police inspector and his team of seven police from Social Service branch, witnesses,  a ‘Bogas’ client and his friend and a social worker from Sakhya Women’s Guidance who was witness in this process. We began our mission at 3:30 pm. & ended next day at 1.30 am.
Sakhya’s social worker Ms. Rushila Rebello got an opportunity to be a witness in this rescue operation of sex workers undertaken by International Justice Mission. Accordingly the social worker met IJM staff near the passport verification office, at VT. There the IJM staff and the police planned the entire rescue operation and briefed all of us how the entire process would take place. They also explained to us our role in the same. Accordingly Rakesh (name changed) a 20 year old boy who had volunteered to act as a client was given Rs. 1,020. (Two notes of five hundred each and one note of Rs. 20) Xerox copies of these notes were kept with the IJM staff and with the witnesses) Rakesh’s friend agreed to accompany him till the specific spot near the brothel keepers’ house, and to keep watch of the activities.  Once Rakesh goes inside the brothel keepers’ house and if the brothel keepers accept the money from him and shuts the door, it means that they have accepted the client. His friend, who is the witness of this, will inform the team and the police about it, and the team would go immediately to that spot and rescue the girls and arrest the brothel keepers.
After the planning of the rescue operation the entire team went to the location at Bombay central. As per the planning  the ‘bogas’ client went to the brothel house while his friend waited at a distance. Meanwhile the entire team of IJM social workers, lawyers, investigators, police and witnesses remained seated in their cars. Approximately after about 10- 15 minutes when we got the green signal, from his friend, the entire team of rescue operation quickly went to the brothel house. The brothel house is located on the 1st floor of an old building at the red light area. The ground floor is occupied with  shops.
As we went, to the first floor we saw the main gate (grilled gate) was locked. One of the IJM staff opened the gate with the help of an iron instrument which is meant to open locks. Once the gate was opened we all rushed inside the brothel house. As we entered we saw two brothel keepers seated in the main hall. The IJM staff quickly searched the whole brothel house and found some girls hiding inside. They also went to the top floor and fund 5 girls hiding inside the wall (in the hollow of the wall). They discovered the hollow by tapping each tile of the walls – and when they heard a peculiar sound; they identified it as a hiding place of the sex workers.
 There was no ventilation at all, it was pitch dark; the girls were all cramped up in that place, scared and shivering. The IJM team brought them down from the top floor and enquired about their names, addresses, about their professions, whether they have come willingly or forcefully to the brothel and they also asked for their documents. They searched the entire house broke their trunks, and cupboards in order to get some documents such as electricity bills, bills of tenancy etc. The police and the IJM staff also seized their mobile phones, pan cards, and condoms etc.   However the police and the IJM staff tried their best to get the Rs. 1020 notes from the sex workers which was given by the ‘Bogas’ client to the sex worker but ultimately they did not succeed in tracing it.

The information which the sex workers were giving was untrue. They were not telling their real stories. They were crying and pleading not to be arrested. Excepting one girl, all of them said that they are willingly doing this business and they have all the freedom to go out and do what they want. They also said that it is due to poverty they are in this profession. Every month they have to send money to their native place.  Some of them were there in the profession since the past five years.
One girl who had arrived in the brothel about 20 days ago narrated that she was brought to this brothel by a fried from Karnataka for employment. She had completed her SSC. She was ignorant she would land up in this situation and for this sort of malpractice. When she expressed her desire to the brothel keeper to be released from the brothel house, the brothel keeper banged her head against the wall and  she also expressed that they were being ill-treated by the brothel keeper. Sometimes they have to entertain 25 clients per day. The clients are charged Rs.500  for half an hour.   Sometimes they have to entertain two clients at a time. Only those girls whom the brothel keepers trusted would be allowed to go out and make purchases whereas other girls are kept under strict vigilance. The brothel keeper would forcefully tell the girls to wear vulgar dresses and if they refuse to do what is asked of them, they will be slapped. Even when they are ill they can’t refuse to entertain the clients. The clients have the liberty to choose the girls.  
After having a full search of the house the police wrote Panchnama read it out and then gave a copy of the Panchnama to the IJM staff. After that the girls (Nine of them) were accompanied to the Nagpada police station. Five brothel keepers were also arrested. The rescue operation went on till 1.30 am.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Awareness creation on good menstruation hygiene practices

Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell organized a workshop on Health and Hygiene on 27th May at Shivshankarpada, Nirmal in which 38 adolescent girls in the age groups of 10-18 years actively participated. It was conducted by the resource persons Ms. Harsha and Ms.  Deepali from Proctor and Gamble Company.
The main objective of workshop was to ensure that the adolescent girls understand reproductive cycle and to increase awareness on good menstruation hygiene practices.
It started with welcome of the resource persons and every participant introduced themselves to rest of the others.
Discussions veered on the orientation on good menstruation practices such as use of sanitation napkins, precaution taking during the period, dietary habits. She explained about reproductive organs and its care so as to ensure healthy reproduction.
A documentary film was shown on basic menstrual hygiene creating awareness about  proper hygiene during menstrual cycle.
Discussion on cultural and religious taboos relating to menstrual hygiene was also held.The girls asked questions like why the girls’ height does not increase after period starts, why women are not allowed to perform religious activities during period. Ms. Deepali answered their questions and said that these are the rules set by the communities and as regard to height she answered it increases after period but at slow rate. 
The workshop resulted in sensitizing the participants on various complications arising out of lack of menstruation hygiene and also spread the message to the neighbours since few of women who did not participate asked the Social Worker to organize same workshop again.35 sanitation napkins were distributed among the participants.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

 Rakhi Tiwari (the name changed) came to Sakhya’s office on 29th April, 2013 to seek help to get accessed into her house. She informed Ms. Chatush Singh, the counselor cum social worker that on 27th April evening her husband beat her up severely and kicked  her  and their two kids out of the house , six years old daughter and three years old son. On 27th evening she went to her maternal uncle’s house in Borivali to live and next day morning she went to lodge a complaint in police station where police took NC but refused to take FIR. After registering NC she went to the house with one constable but husband did not open the door while he threatened to commit suicide if she insisted to get inside. She informed the counselor that she spent 28th night on passage outside her house. She further informed the counselor that one and half month back her husband had beaten her up brutally and burnt her with hot steel scale on her hands, she had got burn marks on her hands that led her to register 498A against her husband and in-laws because they too were involved. 15 days later of registering 498A she had filed complaint under D.V (Domestic Violence) Act. The husband had got notice of maintenance under D.V Act on 25th April, 2013. After receiving maintenance notice his cruelty towards wife and children increased and on 27th evening he threw them out of house and closed the door. She informed the counselor that husband runs gambling business. She told the counselor that her husband is very abusive and troubling her from the beginning of marriage and day by day his cruelty is increasing. She informed the counselor that after her husband refused to open the door she went several times on 28th April and 29th April morning to register FIR but police was simply ignoring her .The counselor after hearing her case phoned her husband to call at Sakhya’s office for counseling but he replied he will not come and challenged the counselor to do whatever she wants.Ms. Chatush Singh, the social worker immediately phoned Mr. Pingle Dinkar, senior Police Inspector for help but he told that he is busy in Sagar operation and they have shortage of cops today. Ms Singh Singh had telephonic conversation with Mr. Verges, Police Inspector who too said he is not available in police station and did not ensure about his timing of availability at police station.
 Around 3:00 pm Ms. Singh, the social worker along with Ms. Rakhi Tiwari went to Navghar Police Station Bhayander (E) to register FIR for Ms. Rakhi’s case where she met Mr. Shewale Sub-Inspector of Police and requested to register FIR who phoned Mr. Shirish Jadhav, Assistant Police Inspector and gave phone to Ms. Singh to talk to Mr. Shirish (API)who said they can not register FIR in this case and asked Ms. Singh to put Ms. Rakhi Tiwari and her children in the shelter home. Since Ms. Rakhi Tiwari is the joint owner of her flat with her huband, Ms. Singh informed Mr. Shirish(API) that she has the right to enter her home but Mr. Shirish (API)was stick to his decision, on which Ms. Singh told him she too will stay out of police station with Ms. Rakhi  until FIR is not registered. Mr. Shirish told Ms. Singh that she is threatening to go for Andolan and asked to give phone to Mr. Shewale (SI) who asked Ms. Rakhi to write an application stating the case history.
After Ms. Singh had a long argument with Mr. Shirish(API), Mr. Shewale was finally ordered to register FIR. After registering FIR Mr. Shewale went with three constables at Rakhi’s house along with Ms. Rakhi and Ms. Singh where they found her mother in law, father-in-law and sister-in-law who lives in Kalayan was inside the house and they had blocked the house and they were abusing Ms. Rakhi and her children. Ms. Rakhi tried to break the house and she got her hand cut but she could not break the door. Even some respected persons of locality requested her in-laws to open the door but they did not open the door. Then police came back to police station and added supplementary FIR against mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-law. When Ms. Singh asked the investigating office, Mr. Shewale for the arrest of all the accused, he said they have shortage of cops and asked for one more day .Ms. Singh demanded immediate arrest of the culprits .At 11: 30 pm Ms. Rakhi’s  husband with his mother and women of locality came to police station and alleged that Ms. Singh had gone with Gunda to break his house.  Mr.  Shewale(IO)  assaulted  him for his misbehavior  then arrested  Ms. Rakhi’s husband and father-in-law and put them in the lock up. On 29th night Ms. Rakhi went to her sister’s house and on 30th evening Chanda went to live in her own house with her children. She is now living in the house with her children.


Saturday, 8 June 2013

Submission of memorandum to Home Minister, Women and Child Development Minister and Police Commissioner for non arrest of sexual assault accused

On 6th June a delegation of women’s groups including Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell, Yuva, Forum against oppression of women, Samajwadi Mahila Sabha, Kamyani, VACHA, Akshra, Sneha, WRAG,Angha Sarpotda submitted the memorandum for non arrest of  Dr. Rustam Sonawala in a rape case to the office of Home Minister and Women and Child Development Minister since they were not in the office. After that, we went to the Police Commissioner's office, and met him in his 4-5 pm meeting with the public. Sakhya was represented by Ms. Chatush Singh.
At first he told us that he was in the US when the Sonawala incident happened, and he only read about it in the papers. Hen then told us that “yes, the police may have made a mistake in going with him in his car, doctor actually tricked the police. But an enquiry is being done about why he was allowed to get away.
He called up his juniors and asked the update of the case, he then told us that a new case has been registered by the police against the doctor under section 224 IPC and the case has been shifted from Khar and given to another Inspector in Powai station “so that police can not be influenced” and the team has been constituted to follow up the case.
Then he went onto say, “We the police are with you…etc”. He also wanted to know why did not other family who also had similar experience, not register a case. We told him people often don’t’ trust the police, upon which he got angry and growled at us. Then we asked him what is happening to enquiry, he again got angry and said now there is no need of enquiry when case has been registered and asked if Sujata was an advocate etc. Upon urging further he said, what might have happened was something must have happened to his car, and when the police men got out, he must have driven away. Also the police don’t have that many vehicles...which was why they went in his car. But no-body can put pressure on us!!
Further if there are any more threats to anyone from doctor’s supporter, we can file a case.Also if the other side is coming in huge number, we are also asked to gather numbers!! Aur police hamesa mahilaon ke sath hai!!