The Gender Beat: A Workfare Programme That Works, Somnath Bharti Chargesheeted

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


Somnath Bharti. Credit: PTI

Somnath Bharti. Credit: PTI

Arrest all accused in rape case: Rights body

A fact-finding committee led by the Centre for Dalit Rights and Dalit Mahila Manch found that two people connected with the rape and murder of a 17-year-old dalit student in Nokha, Bikaner have not yet been arrested.

The Times of India reports the committee found that although the main accused, Vijendra Singh, has been taken into custody, warden Priya Shukla and institute owner Ishwar Chand Baid have not.

Shukla was the one who allegedy asked the student to clean Singh’s room, and Baid owns the institute said to be involved in the cover-up of the sexual violence and death of the student. The college authorities allegedly forced the student to sign a letter saying that attack had been consensual.

The post mortem report confirmed rape.

In India, a ‘workfare’ programme that works

An article by Chandrahas Choudhury on Bloomberg View argues that the much-debated Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act, known colloquially as ‘Narega’, has distinctly enhanced women’s empowerment in India.

Choudhury writes, ‘“Narega” has drawn rural women into the labor market in numbers never seen before. (…) The program has boosted women’s access to work, financial independence and bargaining power within the family. Millions have now been brought into the formal financial system of wages, banking and credit for the first time.”

Somnath Bharti chargesheeted in domestic violence case

An NDTV report says that Aam Aadmi Party MLA and former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti has been chargesheeted by the Delhi police for domestic violence. Bharti has been charged with attempt to murder, and cruelty to his wife. He is currently out on bail. The proceedings against him will begin on April 23.

“…There [is] sufficient evidence on record and as per the statements of the witnesses there [is] sufficient evidence on record to file a charge sheet under section 307 (attempt to murder), 315 (act done with intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 417 (punishment for cheating), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of IPC against accused Somnath Bharti,” said the chargesheet.

TN: Teacher held for alleged sexual harassment of minor girl students

An Outlook report says that a 28-year-old elementary school teacher has been arrested in Tiruchengode taluk, Tamil Nadu for allegedly sexually harassing six girl students.

A case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) has been registered against him, based on a complaint filed by the students’ parents. The students are in class III.

Workshop for women workers on sexual harassment at the workplace

Over 100 women workers participated in a workshop on sexual harassment held in Gurgaon, says The Times of India. This workshop was organised by local complaints committee and Nari Shakti Manch, and focused on women domestic and factory workers.

As part of the workshop, participants were told how they could file police complaints against perpetrators of sexual harassment.

Pachauri’s claims of hacking ridiculous, says third complainant

In an email to The Indian Express, the third woman who has accused RK Pachauri of sexual harassment said that his claims that his phone and computer were hacked are “ridiculous.”

The woman is a foreigner and was once Pachauri’s secretary. The woman came forward after she read a widely condemned profile of Pachauri in The Guardian.

Man arrested for rape, murder of minor in UP

Arun Gupta, a 35-year-old man, has been arrested for raping and killing a 5-year-old girl in Bhaneda, a village in Uttar Pradesh. On April 1, the child had gone to Bhaneda from Loni with her parents in order to attend a wedding, reports the Business Standard.

She went missing that evening. The next day, she was found dead in a sugarcane field. Gupta has reportedly confessed to raping and murdering her.

Mob thrashes woman caught snatching chain

A woman who was caught trying to snatch another woman’s gold chain in Sukhesh, a village in the Valsad district of Gujarat, was beaten badly by a mob.

The Times of India reports that the woman, named Asha Hatgale, was slapped, punched, and kicked by the mob, and that her sari was ripped off in public.

As with other incidents of mob violence against women in the country, a video of the assault was taken. Damningly, this video became viral in the town.

Police have arrested the woman for chain-snatching, and say that they will arrest the men seen in the video soon.

Woman awaits justice 27 years after husband killed in ‘fake encounter’

Kamla Devi’s husband was picked up by the police one day in 1989, and was said to have been killed soon after in a police encounter, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. Since then, she has been fighting a long, hard court battle to demand action against the police officers who allegedly killed her husband.

Even though the chief judicial magistrate’s court summoned five police personnel in 1991, these officers failed to appear before the court. In 2003, the court issued non-bailable warrants against them, but even then, its orders were openly flouted by the police. Last year, the court ordered Kheri’s superintendent of police to ensure that the court’s orders are observed by 31 March. However, on this deadline, the police asked for even more time.

Kamla Devi is now awaiting the next hearing, which has been scheduled for April 22.

Do you know of any other development or issue we should highlight in this column? Write to me at Shreya@thewire.in