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13-year-old delivers baby in school washroom in Andhra Pradesh

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(Representational Image)

Hyderabad: In a shocking incident, a 13-year-old student delivered a baby inside a school washroom in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday, leaving her teachers, other staff and friends flabbergasted.

The incident happened in a government school in the Madhapur area of Hyderabad on Saturday when the grade 9 student reportedly first complained of a stomach ache, after which her teacher sent her to the washroom along with a classmate, NDTV reported.

When the classmate returned, she reported that the girl had delivered a baby. The girl’s parents were then summoned to the school.

Surprisingly, no one, including 13 teachers, had noticed that the girl was expecting a baby.

”She is very slim and would walk with a dupatta on her stomach and she would sit with her bag on her lap, so we didn’t know,” said the girl’s teacher.

According to reports, the girl was allegedly raped by a neighbour, but a rape case was lodged only after the incident became public on Monday.

The district education officer said that the student’s parents may have been aware of her pregnancy but fearing social stigma were reluctant to tell anyone.

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Crimes Against Women Perpetrate in Every two Minutes: NCRB Analysis

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Crimes against women in India
Father, left and mother, center of the Indian student victim who was fatally gang raped on this day three years back on a moving bus in the Indian capital join others at a candle lit vigil in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. VOA
  • Any kind of physical or mental harm towards women is deemed as  “crime against women”
  • Domestic violence is the most dominant crime against women
  • Andhra Pradesh state is the highest to report crimes against women in the period of ten years

Sep 20, 2017: A report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that crimes against women have increased violently in the last ten years with an estimated figure of  2.24 million crimes. The figure is also suggestive of the fact: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one complaint every two minutes, reports IndiaSpend analysis.

The most dominant crime against women with 909,713 cases reported in last decade was ‘cruelty by husbands and relatives’ under section 498‐A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

‘Assault on women’ booked under section 354 of IPC is the second-most-reported crime against women with 470,556 crimes.

‘Kidnapping and abduction of women’ are the third-most-reported crime with 315,074 crimes, followed by ‘rape’ (243,051), ‘insult to modesty of women’ (104,151) and ‘dowry death’ (80,833).

The NCRB report also listed three heads, namely commit rape (4,234), abetment of suicide of women (3,734) and protection of women from domestic violence (426) under which cases of crime against women have been reported in 2014.

Andhra Pradesh has reported the most crimes against women (263,839) over the past 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh state is the highest (263,839) to report crimes against women in the period of ten years. Crimes reported for insult (35,733) ranks first followed by cruelty by husband relatives (117,458), assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (51,376) and dowry-related deaths (5,364).

West Bengal (239,760) is second most crime against women state followed by Uttar Pradesh (236,456), Rajasthan (188,928) and Madhya Pradesh (175,593).

Abduction increased up to three folds over the recent years,  with Uttar Pradesh being the worst affected state. Cases rose from 15,750 cases in 2005 to 57,311 cases in 2014.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94


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End of the ‘Culture of Silence’ : Somalia Gets its First Forensic Lab to Handle Cases of Rape and Gender-based Violence

Rape and sexual assault are pervasive in Somalia, where decades of conflict have created persistent instability and crippled the institutions meant to uphold the law

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The newly opened Puntland Forensic Center is funded by the Swedish government and supported by the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) (VOA)

Somalia, September 16, 2017 : A new forensic lab launched in central Somalia could transform how the Puntland state government handles cases of rape and gender-based violence, and possibly create a model for the rest of the country to follow.

The Puntland Forensic Center, funded by the Swedish government and supported by the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), was opened September 6. It brings advanced DNA testing capabilities to a country still lacking in paved roads and reliable electricity.

The lab opened less than a year after Puntland enacted its Sexual Offenses Act, the first law in Somalia to criminalize sexual offenses and impose harsh penalties, including jail time, fines and public lashing, on the perpetrators.

Rape
The Puntland Forensic Center, funded by the Swedish government and supported by the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), was opened September 6 in central Somalia. (VOA)

The lab was designed to provide critical scientific evidence to the police and officials investigating and prosecuting crimes under this new law.

“As we were helping [the Puntland government] develop that piece of legislation, the question came of, ‘How do we enforce that legislation when it is finally approved?'” said Nikolai Botev, UNFPA’s Somalia representative.

“This is when the realization came that there are actually no forensic facilities within Somalia.”

Culture of silence

Rape and sexual assault are pervasive in Somalia, where decades of conflict have created persistent instability and crippled the institutions meant to uphold the law.

Thirty-year-old Fatima was collecting firewood outside her family’s home in a camp for displaced people in Puntland when she was attacked by three strangers. The men gang-raped her so violently that it caused Fatima, who was pregnant, to miscarry.

“After I came home, I started to bleed the next night. After three to four days, I lost my four-month-old baby,” Fatima told VOA in an interview at a women’s health clinic in Garowe.

Like many women in this conservative country, Fatima preferred to stay silent rather than endure the stigma of her community. The blame and shame survivors face deters many women from reporting rapes and assaults, creating a culture of silence.

“I was shy and said to myself, ‘Don’t tell your story to anyone because it is shameful,'” Fatima said. She was dressed in a full black niqab that revealed nothing but her eyes through a small slit.

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Fatima, who was gang-raped by three strangers outside her family’s home in a camp for displaced people in Puntland, waits at a women’s health clinic in Garowe. (VOA)

Although statistics on the numbers of sexual crimes are largely unavailable, Somalia has been ranked as one of the worst countries to be a woman, and stories like Fatima’s are alarmingly common.

UNFPA says reports of rape and sexual assault have increased this year, after a devastating drought pushed women like Fatima into displacement camps where they become even more vulnerable.

“We’re seeing a significant increase of sexual violence, particularly targeting internally displaced people,” Botev said. “The whole idea of the forensic center was born out of a bigger idea of how to address gender-based violence, sexual violence in the context of Somalia.”

A broken system

Somalia’s government, even at the state level, has yet to recover from decades of war. Many Somali women do not bother to report crimes because they lack faith that the system can, or wants to, help them get justice.

Officer Kis Shamis Kabdi Bile stands out in her bright orange sneakers, blue hijab and mirrored sunglasses. As the only woman in Garowe’s Criminal Investigation Division, she handles every case of rape and gender-based violence because, she says, most male officers don’t even consider them to be crimes.

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Officer Kis Shamis Kabdi Bile is the only woman in Garowe’s Criminal Investigation Division in Somalia.(VOA)

“There are some police officers who say rape is not a big deal and consider it a minor thing,” she told VOA in an interview at the police station. “They say that it is nothing new.”

Bile hasn’t been paid in over a year, and conducts her investigations on foot, as the police department doesn’t have a car. She says the police need resources and specialized training in how to handle sexual crimes.

Many of Bile’s cases are taken over by community elders, who settle disputes through Somalia’s traditional herr system. Often the rapist’s family pays a fine of camels or goats to the survivor’s family, or the survivors are forced to marry their attackers.

It’s frustrating, Bile said. “As you are in the middle of the case, those elders will come and say, ‘We are going to negotiate before you finish the case.'”

During our interview, a young girl, no older than 15, came to plead for Bile’s help. The male police officer assigned to her rape case was insisting she lacked the evidence to go to court, she said, and was encouraging her to resolve her case through the community elders. Bile called the officer in for a strong scolding, and then took over the case.

Changing times

There are promising signs that Puntland’s efforts are already helping more rape survivors to hold their attackers accountable.

Data from Puntland’s attorney general shows that of the 108 rapes reported in Puntland in 2016, only 14, or 12 percent, resulted in convictions. Almost a third were dropped due to lack of evidence.

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Map of Puntland

But since the Sexual Offenses Act was implemented this year, the conviction rate has risen to 27 percent, while the number of cases thrown out for insufficient evidence has dropped to 21 percent.

The trend is encouraging to local politicians, who hope the forensic laboratory will build upon the law’s early success by providing authorities with stronger evidence in a shorter time so they can investigate and prosecute more cases that will stand up in a court of law.

“We used to send DNA from here to Nairobi or from here to South Africa,” said Salah Habib Haaji Hama, Puntland’s Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs. “So those restraints now are easy. We can manage this and get answers within a timely period. Within hours, within minutes, when we used to have days, sometimes months, to receive those.”

An important component to the lab’s success is providing education, both to the survivors and the wider community, about how DNA testing works and why it’s so important.

“There’s a limited time that they have to report or the results of the lab will not be successful. So we will try to educate them,” said Maryan Ahmed Ali, Puntland’s Minister of Women. “What is the time limit? What do they have to do? Do they have to take a shower? Do they have to change or wash their clothes?”

ALSO READ What Gives Husbands The Licence to Rape? Decoding Marital Rape in the Indian Legal Scenario

Understanding the implications of DNA testing could deter potential attackers from committing crimes for fear of being caught. It could also be a game changer for women like Fatima, who said she didn’t report the crime because she didn’t know her attackers’ names.

“Who am I going to accuse? I can only accuse a person I know. I can’t catch someone who I only saw in the jungle. I can barely remember the faces,” she said.

A multitude of challenges, including poor infrastructure, potential security threats and lack of qualified technicians, could impede the lab’s success, said UNFPA’s Botev. Somalia lacks advanced universities and hospitals, so the technicians overseeing the facility all studied abroad. They hope to make the lab a training ground for aspiring Somali scientists.

But the greater hope is that more successful convictions will foster increased confidence in Puntland’s new system, and encourage more women to report. Ultimately, Ali said, this will help reduce the social stigma and break the culture of silence surrounding rape and sexual assault.

“There will not be a stigma. There will not be a discussion about who did this, who did the crime, who did the rape. So it’s a big encouragement,” Ali said. (VOA)

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NRI Man accused of Rape charges for Cohabiting with her legally married wife in USA

Lakhs of Indian origin NRI men face immediate arrest on account of false complaints of heinous crimes by disgruntled wives

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NRI man charged under section 376 Rape
‘No Fault’ Divorce in the USA is not acceptable as per Hindu Marriage Act. Pixabay

Sep 14, 2017: The quandary of the outcast wives is evident in a country like India. NRI husbands have been known for leaving their wives in India and flying to abroad. These wives are being shunned by the society as well. While the problem is grim and sincere, some NRI husbands are also succumbing to the victimization of blackmailing from their wives. Such is the perplexity of the USA based Sachin Jain, who claims that he was erroneously accused of rape charges in India.

Newsgram contacted Sachin Jain for further inquiry into the matter.

According to him lakhs of NRI’s face immediate arrest on account of false complaints of heinous crimes by disgruntled wives.

In a unique case of its kind, an NRI, Sachin Jain who is residing in the USA for last 9 years, has been accused u/s 376 on charges of Cohabitation in the USA with his own legally married wife. A FIR u/s 376 (Rape) has been registered in this regard by the Delhi Police on the orders of Metropolitan Magistrate Chhavi Kapoor of Karkardooma Courts of Delhi. Under this case, the wife allegedly filed a complained in the Karkardooma District court claiming to have cohabited with the NRI man after ex parte divorce obtained in the USA. The couple that is still married as per applicable Indian Laws got a divorce decree from Superior Courts of New Jersey, USA on the grounds of ‘Irreconcilable Differences in marriage.’ This type of Divorce decree also known as ‘No Fault’ Divorce in USA and European Countries is granted by foreign courts without arguments and submission to the court by another party.

As per the Hindu Marriage Act, such tribunal is not functional in India and hence, the couple who got divorce decree in the USA are still legally married in India. The Divorce Decree granted by USA Courts on account of ‘Irreconcilable Differences in marriage’ is unrecognized in Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and section 13 of Civil Procedure Code. This has been iterated couple of times by various High Courts of India after the landmark judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Y. Narasimha Rao And Ors vs. Y. Venkata Lakshmi And Anr on 9 July 1991

As per section 44a of Civil Procedure Code 1908, India has reciprocal agreements with only 11 countries in the world which allow India and the other country to accept each other’s court judgments as it is. There is no reciprocal agreement in place between India and USA for accepting each other’s judgments. Due to no reciprocal agreements, India does not give any recognition to the judgments and decrees passed by the USA.

The Humble Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi District court, without knowing this fact that the judgments provided by USA court can not be taken into cognizance, and the fact that couple is still married as per Indian Laws ordered the Delhi Police to register a FIR u/s 376 which gives unlimited power to Delhi Police to arrest the accused immediately, open Look Out Circular (LOC) against the accused, issue Red Corner Notice taking help of Interpol. This makes an innocent person terrorist and criminal jeopardizing his career, job, and life.

After a FIR u/s 376 is registered against an NRI, he is faced with another challenge of corruption, extortion, blackmailing in the name of this legal terrorism. The complainant wife and her lawyer start blackmailing the NRI husband asking for an exorbitant sum of money in crores to settle the matter out of court.

Sachin says, “I request to the Supreme Court of India, to create special courts for dealing with NRI related matters where expert judges with full knowledge of International Private Laws should take up the matter for hearing. The lower judiciary would also be saved from passing erroneous orders against applicable Indian laws”

He concluded, “Due to complex International Private Laws, the lower judiciary in India without full knowledge of applicable laws governing marriage and divorce in India sometimes commit grave errors and passes unbelievable orders jeopardizing the career and life of innocent NRIs living far away from their country of birth for livelihood.”


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.