Issue-5: Understanding caste & sexual violence in India

List of essential readings—news reports, studies and analysis—following Hathras case.

Hello and Welcome to Rayaan Writer Newsletter. This is the Fifth Issue.

Since starting this newsletter, I have promised myself to learn more & become a better writer. To improvise the quality of this newsletter, I decided to do a survey on the news reading habits of my readers. I’ll be delighted if you can spare one minute of your time to do this.👇🏽

Take Survey

Our nation has been left in turmoil following the news reports of the sexual assault of a Dalit woman by upper-caste men in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. In this issue, I list out essential news reports and short video documentaries to understand what actually happened. You can also find a collection of opinion pieces and analysis on caste-based violence and the solutions put forth by lawyers and policy-makers.

Ground Report

  • A long caste feud, a horrific crime, and a sudden cremation. The alleged rape and assault of a young woman in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh leading to her death and a rushed cremation has sparked anger across the country. Anuj Kumar reports on a horrific case that flags the prevalence of caste-based discrimination that often leads to violence. By The Hindu. Read here.

  • ‘Our fault is that she was Dalit’: In Hathras, a forced cremation, a media circus, and a life of humiliation. No family members were present during the victim's last rites, despite the police’s claims to the contrary. By News Laundry. Read here.

  • Video: Dalit Teen ‘Raped, Forcibly Cremated’: What Unfolded In Hathras. Videos on social media showed the victim’s mother pleading with police officials to let her take the body home. By The Quint. Watch here.

Law & Order

  • The Rights of The Dead And Last Rites: All You Need To Know As it happened in Hathras. Do the Police have a right to cremate a body against the family’s wishes? The answer is No. By Boom Live. Read here.

  • Are Indian state police trying to discount a woman's story of rape?. The latest case of sexual violence that has roiled India is already mired in allegations of tardy investigations, lax forensics and dubious statements by the police. These factors, taken together, have raised suspicions of a cover-up. The fact that many Indians are still not informed enough about the rape laws doesn't help. By BBC. Read here.

  • The Dalit Caste Identity of Hathras Victim Is Vital to Recognizing Her Rape as a Casteist Crime. The victim’s caste identity matters because it shines a spotlight upon India’s uncomfortable position as a casteist state and society that repeatedly terrorizes individuals deemed lower caste with violence, rape, and murder, while its justice system often looks the other way. By The Swaddle. Read here.

  • Brutality of Hathras crime, brazen police abdication, have shaken and shamed us all. "We hope that our judiciary will exercise its immense constitutional power to lead and supervise a free, fair and speedy investigation into the heinous allegation of brutal rape and the completely illegal forced cremation and illegal detention by the UP police," write Nandita Rao and Iti Pandey, lawyers practicing at the Delhi High Court. By The Indian Express. Read here.

  • India's Hindi Heartland Has A Gangrape Problem. Since 2014, 70% of all gangrapes were reported in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. By Boom Live. Read here.

  • How effective is India's justice system in dealing with rape? By BBC. Read here.

Analyzing Media

  • Reporting Crimes on Women: What Are the Laws and Why Are They Broken Every Time. Several news websites, including Janbharat Times, Telugu Circles, Bharat Headlines and Publicist Recorder used the same viral – and fake – photographs of a woman who was not the Hathras victim, in their reports on the incident. By The Wire. Read here.

  • How Dainik Jagran and TOI’s Lucknow editions ignored the Hathras rape. Yet advertisements for Yogi Adityanath’s government consistently appeared in their pages. By The News Laundry. Read here.

  • Video: Hathras case ignored by TV News Channels. Watch here.

Diving Deeper

  • India's caste system is among the world's oldest forms of surviving social stratification. The BBC explains its complexities. Read here.

  • Study: A woman interviewed 100 convicted rapists in India. This is what she learned. By The Washingon Post. Read here.

  • Study: Hathras, Balrampur are preventable. This is what we found in our study of UP and Bihar teens. Director of the Population Council India, Niranjan Saggurti and his team "asked over 20,000 boys and girls from UP and Bihar what they think of education, household chores, marriage and being harassed". By The Print. Read here.

Essential Readings on Instagram

❗Trigger warning- caste violence❗
Yes, it is about caste. Swipe to read about the Hathras caste-rape and recent updates for the same. We urge you to follow Dalit-Bahujan people and anti-caste activists including @sumeetsamos @anticastecat @artwhoring @kirubamunusamy and others, and amplify their voices
#castesystem #caste #casteviolence #hathras #hathrasrapecase #politics #indianpolitics #indiannews #news #dalit #dalitlivesmatter #dalitrights #religion #hathrasupdates #rahulgandhi #bhimarmy #currentaffairs #currentissues #uttarpradesh
October 1, 2020
A nineteen-year-old girl who belonged to a Dalit community was allegedly raped and brutally killed by four upper caste men. Since then, another Dalit woman has been raped and killed in Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh. This is not just a case of rape. It’s a caste atrocity. Read the excerpts of an essay by Jyotsna Siddharth (@jyotsnasmailbox). Read the entire essay on our website. Link in bio.
#hathras #castebasedviolence #violenceagainstwomen #dalitlivesmatter
October 1, 2020
By @psainath_pari

Reported nearly 20 years ago. Are the headlines any different in 2020 though?

'So much for the numbers. What are the steps and the barriers, the process and the perils facing a dalit going to court? That’s another story.'

Full story in the bio.

#rajasthan #rapeawareness
#dalits #adivasis
October 1, 2020

Donate Now

No one destroyed Babri Masjid?!

"Nearly three decades, 850 witnesses, more than 7,000 documents, photographs and videotapes later, a court in India found no-one guilty of razing a 16th-Century mosque which was attacked by Hindu mobs in the holy city of Ayodhya." In a no-surprise verdict, a special CBI court acquitted all 32 accused in Babri Demolition Case. The verdict is yet another feather in the cap for the Modi government which has regularly benefitted from the judiciary system to spearhead its Hindutva ideology.

Babri Masjid Case related readings
  • From Nation of Donkeys to 'Black Day for Democracy': English Editorials Slam Babri Verdict. By The Wire. Read here.

  • India’s Muslims Fear Rise in Intolerance and Hate Crimes as Court Acquits All Accused in a Mosque Demolition. By Vice News. Read here.

  • India's Muslims feel more abandoned than ever. By BBC. Read here.

  • I earlier made "a compilation of reports on the Ayodha issue”. Read here.

After a silly debate, Trump tests positive for COVID-19

It was a disaster. They came, they fought, they left. Trump interrupted again and again. Biden told him, “Just shut up, man!”. Trump said, “There’s nothing smart about you, Joe”. Chris Wallace, the moderator, pleaded, “Gentleman!”. Later after the debate, Trump said on Twitter that he and his wife, Melania have tested positive for COVID-19. The news came as a shock for his presidential campaign. Trump had downplayed the threat of the virus on a massive scale, often mocking critics and health experts.

All-in-one basket

Facebook is planning to bring in all its messenger apps into one application. "Facebook is linking DMs on its platform to DMs on Instagram. That means someone can use a Facebook account to message you on Instagram even if you don’t have Facebook, and vice versa. It’s part of a company effort called “interop:” Facebook wants to tie together the suite of social apps it owns --, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram -- into one big, happy family" The Hustle reported.

Flying Medical Man

A jet pack is what you might need to save victims who may be lost in a secluded spot, perhaps following an accident. A jet suit for paramedics that would see patients reached in minutes by a "flying" medic has been tested by the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

No rights for Human Rights Group

Amnesty International, one of the world's top human rights groups, shut down in India after it alleged that the government had frozen all its bank accounts and had intimidated its members for years. The government obviously denied the claims.

Disney Land sacks thousands

Owing to the crippling economy and lockdown as a result of the pandemic, Disney Land Theme Parks has decided to sack over 28,000 employees in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Compact Power

Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is ‘Very Likely to Work,’ Studies Suggest. "A series of research papers renews hope that the long-elusive goal of mimicking the way the sun produces energy might be achievable".

David Attenborough graces Instagram

World-renowned environmentalists, David Attenborough made his debut on Instagram, gaining over 3 million followers in a matter of hours.

This marks the end of today’s edition. See you soon! Stay safe, wear masks, wash your hands, and spread love. Feel free to forward this email to your family and friends. 😊❤️

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