Newsletter May – Aug 2009


Saheli statement against the rape of Burmese woman in Delhi


In Delhi, the crime capital of the country, every few minutes a crime is committed on women, and justice is almost impossible to achieve. In such a situation who will speak out against the crimes committed against those located on the margins? 


Immigrant working class women routinely live with the violence until something too hideous to hide happens the Nithari case, a woman gangraped in the early hours of the morning while going for her morning ablutions or north- eastern women constantly treated as vulnerable victims by abductors, rapists or even their own landlords. The latest of these cases is that of a Burmese woman raped in the premises of the Lady Hardinge Medical College while trying to get treatment for her sick child at the Kalawati Sharan Children Hospital, prided as a centre of excellence in paediatric care and research in the government medical establishment!


The government must realise that merely allowing political and economic refugees to live in India is not enough. It is essential they be provided protection, safety and adequate access to justice and means of survival. The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and its partners must also respond sensitively to matters regarding sexual crimes on women. The police must conduct investigations judiciously in these matters in order to avoid further victimisation of survivors by landlords and neighbours, as has happened in this case a situation further worsened by the aggressive presence of the media in her locality, desperate for one more piece of breaking news.


As members of Saheli, a Delhi-based women’s group, we condemn such incidents and call for the police to act quickly to find the guilty and ensure the survivors have access to justice without boundaries of language, class, caste, community, religion, region, etc.


Else we will continue to be a country of hypocrites only willing to talk about racism on our (upper class) people without addressing ' the racism at work in such cases of violence against women!