The Gender Beat: Kerala Govt Refuses CBI Probe into Dalit Woman’s Rape-Murder; Girl Burnt Alive in Pakistan

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

The gender pay gap for domestic workers in India

A survey conducted by, the results of which were published in The Washington Post, reveals that salaries paid in male-dominated jobs like driving are far higher than female-dominated jobs such as cleaning and nannying.

The data shows that the wages paid in the male-dominated industries are double those paid in female-dominated ones. For example, the average salary for a driver in Bengaluru is 12,500 rupees, while women domestic workers in the same city are paid 6,000 rupees on average.

“The driver also trumps nanny salaries, suggesting people are willing to dish out more to take care of their cars than their kids,” says the report.

Kolkata has the lowest salaries for domestic workers in major metropolitan areas, while Mumbai has the highest.

Centre ready for CBI probe in Kerala rape-murder, but state government says no

Home minister Rajnath Singh said that the central government was ready to order a CBI investigation into the rape, torture and murder of a 30-year-old Dalit law student in Kerala. The student, who hailed from a poor family, was found dead and with grievous injuries on her body by her mother on April 28.

“CBI probe should be held into the murder. As the country’s home minister, I assure you that as soon as we get a recommendation (in this regard) from the state government, we are prepared to conduct a CBI probe,” Singh said at a public meeting in Kerala, according to a Manorama Online report.

However, sources in the state government said that they would not be handing over the probe to the CBI.

The woman’s mother is inconsolable and hospitalised. She has alleged that she and her daughter were subject to repeated harassment, but that all complaints to the police went unheeded.

“Police inaction in cases involving violence against Dalit women is unfortunately disturbingly common. Even in this case, the police failed to act on earlier complaints from the family,” said Rekha Raj, Programme Manager, Women’s Rights, at Amnesty International India.

The woman’s sister told Amnesty International India, “We have complained earlier against certain individuals who used to threaten us, but the police did not take any action.”

Laila Rasheed, an activist who had worked to secure social benefits for the victim’s family, told Amnesty International India, “The family faced social alienation because they were poor and Dalit. They were not even allowed to draw water from their neighbours’ wells. Both mother and daughter boldly confronted and resisted such injustice. This made them unpopular.”

State police are saying that they are now down to four or five suspects in connection with the crime. Twelve people have been held by the police, according to some reports.

Meanwhile, the incident has triggered intense politicking in the polls-bound state.

16-year-old girl in Pakistan burnt alive for helping couple elope 

Pakistani police arrested 15 members of a local council who are accused of burning alive a 16-year-old girl who had helped a couple to elope.

The girl was set ablaze last week in an ‘honour killing’ in the town of Donga Gali on the orders of the council,  district police chief Saeed Wazir told Reuters.

“Police said the honour killing was ordered as punishment for what the council deemed irreparable damage to the village’s reputation. The couple appeared to have escaped,” says the report.

The police have also arrested the girl’s mother and brother, who reportedly assented to the murder.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, more than 500 people were killed in ‘honour killings’ last year.

Japan schools a ‘hateful’ place for LGBT students, says rights group

Human Rights Watch said in a report on 6 May that Japanese schools were filled with hateful comments about LGBT people, including comments by teachers that can worsen bullying and push LGBT students into depression.

“Hateful anti-LGBT rhetoric is nearly ubiquitous in Japanese schools, driving LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] students into silence, self-loathing, and in some cases, self-harm,” the group said.

The report says that the attitudes of teachers are a key part of the problem.

According to a report in The South China Morning Post, the country had historically been tolerant of homosexuality, but had later adopted late 19th century, Western prejudices against LGBT people.

However, the report added that there have been recent signs of wider public acceptance, such as symbolic ‘partnership certificates’ distributed to same-sex couples by certain districts in the country.

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