Newsletter Jan – April 2009

The NOIDA rape case shocked the capital in January this year. An MBA student and her friend who had just left a mall in NOIDA, driving back to Delhi were blocked by a group of men on motorcycles. They abducted the woman in the car, gang raped her and brutally beat up her male friend. The police thankfully registered the case and got the medical examinations and initial evidences of the rape recorded well in time. However, the police failed to exhibit similar grit in the follow up of the case, as the fingerprints lifted twice from the spot and the car were found to be smudged. Nor did the police move on matching the DNA samples that they had recorded from the victim’s medical examination. It is not clear whether the boys remain in custody or whether they have been let out on bail, since their entire community stood in their support.

The media focused on the new money found in the village near NOIDA that the boys belonged to and the lack of priority given to education. They carried surveys of crimes against women in cities. Everyday we woke up to extensive newspaper reports on the legal developments in the case as well as to the total support the boys received from the elders of their own community. What appeared absent in the reportage was a clear condemnation of violence against women irrespective of the class profile of the woman and a follow up to the case.

The fear generated through incidents like the rape case in NOIDA and the blatant community support to the culprits and sensationalised media reports only affects the mobility of women, whether they are stepping out for work or for education.

Saheli organised a protest in NOIDA on January 12, 2009 to protest such rising cases of violence against women and public apathy and to support women facing such violence. We were also joined by other women's groups from Delhi, who were signatories to the pamphlet (given below). An attempt was made to involve local residents’ welfare associations and we even tried to mobilise students from nearby colleges. The protest started outside the Great India Place Mall, NOIDA and the march went through market in Sector 18. Many young and old women and men in the market joined us in the march as well as in lighting candles to show solidarity for the cause.

 PAMPHLET: NOIDA Break your Silence to Stop Violence

We are upset by the rising incidents of violence against women in Delhi and NCR. The gang rape of a young woman in NOIDA on January 6, has shocked us all. This is indicative of a sick mentality where rape is used to celebrate a victory. And instead of demanding a proper inquiry and punishment for the guilty, the elders of the village as well as teachers give testimonials to the accused “they are from good families, their parents are government officers.” Master Prem Singh, managing his own private college insists “there is nothing wrong with our boys, the police is harassing them unnecessarily” – thereby condoning the crime and giving a baseless clean chit to the accused and abdicating his moral responsibility. A former Sarpanch of the village has stated “she was just raped” – making light of a heinous crime.

Newspaper reports continue to point to the growing panic among young girls and their parents which prevents them from stepping out, going to college or for that matter to work. Whereas women need to be encouraged to participate in public life the failure of the keepers of law and order and the aggressive and criminal behaviour of men has effectively confined women and girls to their homes. Just two days before this rape case, a girl of 18 was abducted from a crowded market where she had gone with her mother and aunt to buy vegetables. She was also subjected to sexual assault. Both these incidents took place in crowded places but nobody tried to intervene.

While it is important that people like us stop being silent spectators, it is imperative that the state and police functionaries need to do their jobs and do it well. Justice is the only deterrent to such crimes against women – be they rape, or abduction or ‘honour’ killings as we have recently seen in NOIDA


Saheli, Delhi.

Endorsed by:

Voices against 377, CREA, Partners in Law and Development, Nirantar, Sama, Kriti, Naz Foundation, The Other Media, Janwadi Mahila Samiti, TARSHI, AIPWA, FDI, Action India, Delhi; Vikalp Women’s Group, Sahiyar Stree Sanghatan, Baroda; Women’s Centre, Mumbai; Sujata Madhok, Vrinda Grover; Lata Singh; Vandana Prasad; Anomita Goswami; Asha Kachru; Amit Sengupta; Dr Neshat Quaiser; Padmini




1.    Another rape hits shell-shocked Delhi

2.    Businessman’s son held on rape charge

3.    17-year-old gang raped in moving car

4.    Teen gang raped in outer Delhi

5.    IT professional rapes, suspected in 3 more cases

6.    14-year-old gang raped by neighbours in NE Delhi

7.    Delhi Rape: Commission, CMO assures action

8.    42-yr-old held for rape

      9.    City techie held on rape charges