13 Indian women rights organizations raise voice against BJP’s rape threats to political opponents

NEW DELHI, India: As many as 13 Indian women rights organizations involving 162 individuals have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising a strong voice against rape threats given by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to political opponents.

The letter was sent in the light of the repeated hate speech by election campaigners of the BJP, using fear of rape as a campaign message, and urging their followers to inflict violence on peaceful women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

In the letter, the organizations reminded the Indian prime minister of his Constitutional duty to protect all citizens and called upon him and his party to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women!

Prominent among the signatories are Devaki Jain, (Feminist Economist), Laila Tyabji, (Craft activist and Chairperson, DASTKAR), Madhu Bhaduri, (former Ambassador of India), Navrekha Sharma, (former Ambassador of India), Zoya Hasan, (Former Professor & Member, National Commission for Minorities), Uma Chakravarti, (Feminist Historian and filmmaker), Syeda Hameed, (Former Member, Planning Commission of India), Kamla Bhasin, (Gender Rights Activist), Farah Naqvi, (Author and Activist), Natasha Badhwar, Author and Film-maker; and organisations like Saheli, Pinjra Tod, WSS, AIDWA, AIPWA, NFIW,  Makaam- Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, Muslim Women’s Forum, etc.

Open letter to Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi

Vote for BJP or you will get raped? Is this your message to Delhi’s women?

Your party is also exhorting mobs to aim bullets at women & children.

Please stop your party from threatening women with violence.

Fight the election upholding the dignity of our Constitution.

 

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

We speak to you as women of this country, and the women of Delhi – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Adivasi and Dalit – who are horrified at the atmosphere of violence against women that members of your party have created merely to try and win an election.

  • When Mr. Anurag Thakur, a sitting Minister in the central government exhorts a crowd to yell ‘Goli maaron saalon ko’, please remember that in this case the ‘saalon’ is lakhs of peacefully protesting women, sitting in parks and maidans across the city, with young children on their laps.
  • Another campaigner for your party, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ajay Singh Bisht aka ‘Yogi Adityanath’ kicked off his campaign in Delhi by saying ‘Boli se nahi to goli’ se maanenge!
  • When the esteemed Home Minister, Mr Amit Shah asks people to push the EVM button on 8 February with such force “that protesters feel the current”. Is he wishing to electrocute the women?

Is the BJP now openly endangering the lives of India’s women and children? This is what history will record and India will not forgive, Mr. Prime Minister. For the nation saw the direct result of this violent atmosphere created by members of your party, which inspired ‘Ram Bhakt’ Gopal to open fire at innocent students in Jamia on January 30th, and another terrorist weaponised by the hate being spread by your party, fired at the women of Shaheen Bagh on 1st February.

  • Mr. Parvesh Verma, your party MP said, “Lakhs of people gather there (Shaheen Bagh). People of Delhi will have to think and take a decision. They’ll enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them.”

What is this kind of communal hate and fear mongering that you, as head of government are encouraging, that seeks to make women of all communities feel more insecure and threatened? Vote for BJP or you will get raped! Is this your election message to Delhi’s women? Is this how low your party has sunk?

Women understand the meaning of rape, Mr. Prime Minister. We have long suffered violence on our bodies, with little access to justice, despite your government’s slogan of Beti Bachao!  We condemn this attempt to demean our histories of pain and fear by using it for cheap, divisive electioneering.

We do not fear the Shaheen Baghs of Delhi, Mr. Prime Minister. What we fear is a government that directs its security forces to attack peacefully protesting students, women and men. Elected members who openly threaten ordinary citizens. And a police force that stands by and watches as people inspired by this hate-filled rhetoric indulge in acts of violence.

Your government may disagree with the reasons for this nation-wide uprising against the NPR-NRC-CAA. But peaceful protest is our constitutional right. That is all we are doing. Lakhs of Delhi’s women are not just part of this movement, they are leading it. Empowered women are on the frontlines. We will not be silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors, when all they are doing it fighting to protect and preserve the Constitution of our country.

Mr Prime Minister, you may belong to BJP, but you are the Prime Minister of the country and have a Constitutional obligation to protect the rights of all citizens. When members of your party exhort mobs to use violence and bullets and you remain silent or support them, remember it is you who are responsible.

  • You need to speak out against such targeted violence and hate speech
  • You need to take immediate action including under all relevant criminal provisions of the penal code, against these violence mongering members of your party.
  • You need to fight the Delhi election in a manner that upholds the dignity of our Constitution and ensures the security of India’s women.

 

The above letter was released by the following organizations;

  1. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre
  2. Ajita, Nisha, Rinchin & Shalini, Convenors, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)
  3. All India Democratic Women’s Association
  4. National Federation of Indian Women
  5. All India Progressive Women’s Association
  6. Muslim Women’s Forum
  7. Pinjra Tod
  8. Centre for Struggling Women
  9. All India Queer Association
  10. Jamia Queer Collective
  11. Makaam- Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, Delhi
  12. Aman Biradari
  13. Karwan-e- Mohabbat

 

Individuals

  1. Devaki Jain, Feminist Economist
  2. Laila Tyabji, Craft activist and Chairperson, DASTKAR
  3. Madhu Bhaduri,former Ambassador of India
  4. Navrekha Sharma, former Ambassador of India
  5. Zoya Hasan, Former Professor & Member, National Commission for Minorities
  6. Uma Chakravarti, Feminist Historian and filmmaker
  7. Syeda Hameed, Former Member, Planning Commission of India
  8. Kamla Bhasin, Gender Rights Activist
  9. Farah Naqvi, Author and Activist
  10. Natasha Badhwar, Author and Film-maker
  11. Reena Mohan, film maker
  12. Nivedita Menon, Professor, JNU
  13. Nupur Basu, Journalist
  14. Geeta Seshu, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai
  15. Geeta Kapur, art critic
  16. Enakshi Ganguly, Child Rights activist
  17. Anjali Bhardwaj, Satark Nagrik Sangathan
  18. Maya Krishna Rao, Theatre artist
  19. V. Geetha, Independent feminist scholar
  20. Susie Tharu, Independent Scholar and Writer
  21. Urvashi Butalia, Publisher
  22. Vivan Sundaram, artist
  23. Madhusree Dutta, artist
  24. Sanjana Sarkar. Head, Institut Francais, Rajasthan Annex
  25. Sadhna Arya, Delhi University
  26. Brinda Singh, Human Resource Development
  27. Deepa Pathak, self employed
  28. Lalitha Krishna, Filmmaker
  29. Indira C, Delhi
  30. Priya Pillai, Delhi
  31. Lekha Bhagat, Potter
  32. Namita Nayak, Filmmaker
  33. Ashima Roy Chowdhry, Feminist Activist
  34. Sania Farooqui, Journalist
  35. Subasri Krishnan, Filmmaker
  36. Suresh Rajamani, Filmmaker
  37. Adsa Fatima, Feminist activist
  38. Deepa Venkatachalam, Health Activist
  39. Shreshtha Das, Independent Consultant
  40. Dr. Ponni Arasu, Chennai
  41. Nandini Manjrekar
  42. Rituparna, Queer Feminist
  43. Vani Subramanian, Film maker
  44. Nandini Rao, feminist activist
  45. Ritambhara, Feminist
  46. Ananya Iyer, Student, M.A. Women’s Studies
  47. Seema Baquer, Cross Disability consultant
  48. Suneeta Dhar, activist
  49. Rafiul Alom Rahman, Queer Activist
  50. Shipra Nigam, research scholar
  51. Dipta Bhog, feminist activist
  52. Malini Ghose. New Delhi
  53. Archana Dwivedi, Feminist Activist
  54. Purnima Gupta, Feminist Activist
  55. Rakhi Sehgal, Researcher & Trade Unionist
  56. Savita Sharma, Feminist Activist
  57. Shirin, entrepreneur
  58. Amrita Johri, Activist
  59. Abha Choudhuri, Concerned citizen
  60. Geeta Sahai, Writer, Filmmaker, Social entrepreneur
  61. Freny Khodaiji, Film Producer, Animal Rights Activist
  62. Minnie Vaid, Filmmaker and Author
  63. Padmaja Shaw, Retired Professor, Journalism, Osmania University
  64. Sharmin Khodaiji, Senior Research Associate, O. P. Jindal Global University
  65. Shernaz Italia, Film Producer, Animal Rights Activist
  66. Usha Rao, Anthropologist/independent media maker
  67. Hansa Thapliyal, Filmmaker
  68. Rahul Roy, Filmmaker
  69. Janaki Abraham, Academic
  70. Kavita Bahl, Filmmaker
  71. Nandan Saxena, Filmmaker
  72. Nishtha Jain, Filmmaker
  73. Radha Misra, Academic
  74. Ranjan Palit, Filmmaker
  75. Saba Dewan, Filmmaker, Author
  76. Samina Mishra, Filmmaker
  77. Uma Tanuku, Filmmaker
  78. Aamana Singh, Graphic Designer
  79. A.M. Padmanabhan, audiographer
  80. Anjana Mangalagiri, Educationist
  81. Devika Menon, PhD Scholar
  82. Kanupriya Sharma, Sr. Archivist, New Delhi
  83. Neena Verma, Filmmaker
  84. Pooja Singh, Development professional, New Delhi
  85. Preeti Gulati, PhD scholar
  86. Sanjana Manaktala, Development professional, New Delhi
  87. Vasundhara Chauhan, Concerned Citizen
  88. Vanita Nayak Mukherjee, concerned citizen
  89. Bharathy Singaravel, Writer
  90. Dipti Bhalla Verma, Filmmaker
  91. Shakti Kak, concerned citizen
  92. Richa Hushing, Filmmaker
  93. Rrivu Laha, Filmmaker
  94. Brij Tankha, Academic
  95. Bursenla,Media Lab, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bengaluru
  96. Gauri D. Chakraborty, Academic
  97. Kamini Tankha, Concerned citizen
  98. Kristine Michael, Artist
  99. Mirza Afzal Beg, Farmer
  100. Ridhima Mehra, Concerned Citizen
  101. Anandita Jumde, Editor
  102. Archana Kapoor, Filmmaker
  103. Ayisha Abraham, Academic, Artist
  104. Mahima, Business
  105. Dimple Oberoi Vahali
  106. Meenakshi Barooah, Filmmaker
  107. Muraleedharan C K, Cinematographer
  108. Nabeela Rizvi, filmmaker and researcher
  109. Namita Unnikrishnan, Therapist
  110. Nilita Vachani, Filmmaker/ Educator
  111. Rohini Devraj, Filmmaker
  112. Samreen Farooqui, Filmmaker
  113. Senjuti Mukherjee, Researcher, Archivist, Writer
  114. Sheena Jain, independent researcher
  115. Sherna Dastur, Graphic Designer
  116. Sumalata K, Creative Director
  117. Svetlana Naudiyal, Film Programmer
  118. Urmi Juvekar, Screenwriter
  119. Anumeha, Journalist
  120. Jayoo Patwardhan, Architect, Filmmaker, Art Director
  121. Jeroo Mulla, Educationist
  122. Maya Palit, Journalist
  123. Renu Gourisaria, retired schoolteacher
  124. Mrinalini Vasudevan, Writer and Editor
  125. Shalini Mukerji, Canine Trainer
  126. Ratna Golaknath, Psychotherapist
  127. Aradhana Anand, Furniture Designer
  128. Rita Singh, retired school teacher
  129. Ritambhara Shastri, journalist
  130. Mala Srikanth, Doctor
  131. Mimansa Sahay – Graphic Designer and Diver
  132. Shabani Hassanwalia, New Delhi
  133. Disha Mullick, Delhi
  134. Pali Singh, student, DU
  135. Arushi Mathur, Dancer
  136. Satnam Kaur
  137. Geeta Thatra, PhD student, JNU
  138. Titas Ghosh, feminist researcher, New Delhi
  139. Abhiti, Lawyer, Delhi
  140. Abhilasha, Law Student, Delhi University
  141. Suroor Mander, Lawyer
  142. Honey Oberoi Vahali
  143. Prabha N
  144. Aamana Singh, New Delhi
  145. Radha Mahendru, Art Worker
  146. Faustina Johnson, Editor
  147. Anne Correa, Lawyer
  148. Drishya Nair, Scientist/researcher
  149. Joyeeta Dey, researcher
  150. Jennifer Areng Datta, Filmmaker, Film editor
  151. Mallika Visvanathan, filmmaker, researcher
  152. Pooja Madhavan, Editor
  153. Pia Hazarika, illustrator
  154. Diamond Oberoi Vahali
  155. Veena, Cncerned citizen
  156. Shagun Talwar, Consultant
  157. Noopur, Ed-tech consultant
  158. Ein Lall, Filmmaker
  159. Sumona Chakravarty, Artist
  160. Sinjita Basu, Educational Specialist, Bangalore
  161. Sreemoyee Singh, PhD Scholar
  162. Farha Khatun, Filmmaker