The raid led to the seizure of over 200 artifacts, including 49 bronzes, 71 stone carvings and 96 rare paintings
The raid lasted for three days and resulted in finding a treasure trove of artifacts
101 antiquities were stolen between 2000 and 2016 from 3,650 protected historical monuments around the country
CHENNAI: After the infamous arrest of Subhash Kapoor at Frankfurt airport in 2011, the people of India have become aware of how their ancient treasures and idols are looted and sold abroad. A tip-off from an informant about “some unusual activities” going on at Govindaraj Deenadayalan’s house, led to the seizure of over 200 artifacts, including 49 bronzes, 71 stone carvings and 96 rare paintings.
Deenadayalan’s residence in Alwarpet, Chennai and a rented godown were raided by the sleuths of the Idol Wing CID of the Tamil Nadu Police’s Economic Offences Wing on the basis of information that hoards of antique artifacts were stored there with no valid documents. The raid lasted for three days from May 31 and resulted in finding a treasure trove of artifacts, said the Frontline.in report.
Two of the idols were 1,000 to 1,200 years old, and belong to the Chola and Hoysala dynasties. According to the Frontline report, Pon. Manickavel, the IG who is personally investigating the case, said that they never expected to find so many antiques from a private dealer.
The police struck at a time when Deenadayalan was desperate as he could not transport his idols to buyers in Mumbai on time. Time is required to collect the documentary evidence to prove that the artifacts belonged to a particular temple or place. When the investigation transcends the country’s borders, it is hard to make the case as the law in India demands a case to be charge-sheeted in 60 days.
Many operators have escaped the law since the prosecutors could not prove complicity in the crime as the stolen goods could not be recovered from abroad. Art lovers also point out that the restitution of statues need evidence that the stolen artifacts belong to a particular temple.
“For instance, priceless antique pieces have been stolen from various temples across Tamil Nadu. But, sadly, none of these stolen properties from our temples has any documentary proof of ownership and proof of provenance, though the HR and CE Department claims that it has started collecting and documenting the same now” says Pon. Manickavel to Frontline.
Determined to plug these loopholes, the IG has decided to be the complainant. The Frontline report adds that Pon. Manickavel is confident of breaking the backbone of this well-organised international black market in antique idols from temples in Tamil Nadu.
With 200 stolen antiquities returning to India, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US, it is to be wondered how much more of our heritage lies outside our country, said a DNA report.
According to the ministry of culture records, 101 antiquities were stolen between 2000 and 2016 from 3,650 protected historical monuments around the country, states a dnaIndia report. When the unprotected monuments across the country are considered, there are 4,115 cases of ‘cultural property’ stolen in 2010-2014 with 3,000 of them unsolved. The dnaIndia report also suggests that over 10,000 objects have been stolen in the past 10 years.
-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14
Beijing, October 15, 2017 : Archaeologists have excavated 800-year-old city walls and gates in China’s Chongqing. More than 300 relics and evidence that a complete defense system existed at the time have been unearthed.
A township in Fengjie county’s Baidi was once a very important military fortress. The archaeological dig launched at the site in February discovered the ruins, Xinhua news agency reported.
In the first six months, 20 sections of the city wall, gates, defence towers and armouries were found.
These were confirmed as dating to the period between 1127 and 1912 when the Southern Song Dynasty and later the Qing Dynasty was in power.
Over 300 relics, mainly iron weapons and some ceramic, copper and stone artifacts, have also been unearthed, Chongqing Cultural Heritage Research Institute said.
The project also identified the layout of Baidi. Other sites discovered outside the town have shown that a complete defence system existed at that time, archaeologists said.
The Cultural Heritage Research Institute of Chongqing and the Cultural Relic Management Office of Fengjie jointly conducted the excavations. (IANS)
Chennai, September 28, 2017 : Throughout his childhood, Stevin had just one, very simple wish.
He had longed to be a police officer. His parents claim Stevin grew up uttering “I am police, I am police” as he saw his favorite actors perform the role of a uniform-clad officer in multiple films.
Sadly though, being born with a disability meant that this wish was nothing short of a fantasy.
Doctors had long identified that a young Stevin Mathew was suffering from Down syndrome, a genetic disorder of chromosome 21 that causes developmental and intellectual delays. While the condition can be supervised with treatment, it cannot be completely cured.
For many children, being born with special conditions often means giving up on their dreams. However, we increasingly forget why they are called ‘special’ in the very first place.
Stevin Mathew’s story has been special, too.
Originally hailing from Chennai, the family is currently settled in Qatar. But it was only during a recent trip to Chennai that Stevin’s father Rajeev Thomas approached the commissioner of Chennai police, making a special request to allow his son to wear the prestigious khaki uniform for a day.
In a gesture of goodwill, Commissioner A.K. Vishwanathan agreed to help young Stevin realize his dream of becoming a police officer. Consequently, Chennai’s Assistant Commissioner Vincent Jayaraj and Inspector Suryalingam visited Stevin at his Chennai dwelling and made the fundamental arrangements for action.
A customized uniform with two stars glittering on the shoulder badge was stitched for Stevin, keeping all necessary details in mind.
“He was fascinated by the police after watching his favorite stars Suresh Gopi, Vijay, and others. He always wanted to become a police officer. So I decided to write a mail to the commissioner when we came to Chennai for a vacation” – Rajeev Thomas, Stevin’s father
Welcomed with bouquets at the Ashok Nagar police station, the 19-year sub-inspector assumed position for an hour and was also given his own desk and briefed about the tasks undertaken for crime prevention in order completely experience an officer’s life.
Armed with a walkie-talkie and an agenda, Stevin attended phone calls and also set out on patrol duty in a police jeep along with two other constables.
A bright 19-year old boy, Stevin is a Diploma-holder in Computer Applications and has never let circumstances decide the course of his life.
Stevin’s parents, Rajeev and Ciby Mathew run a special school for children called HOPE Qatar in Doha and believe that special children should be given equal opportunities to help include them into the mainstream society.
Commissioner A.K. Vishwanathan and the Chennai Police department must also be acknowledged for setting an example and motivating children to dream despite all hardships.
Sometimes from a small seed, greatness grows. And despite all odds, the 19-year-old Stevin is a testament to this.
Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence
Marital rape is yet to be categorized as a criminal offence in India
According to the central government, criminalizing marital rape “may destabilize the institution of marriage”
New Delhi, September 2, 2017 : Baby works as a domestic help; she says she cannot recall her age when her parents married her off to a man who was much older to her; a man she barely knew. She didn’t anticipate her husband would demand to have intercourse on their wedding night. She was still young and not ready, but that didn’t stop him. Baby was raped by her husband on her wedding night. But marital rape means nothing to her.
Sunita irons clothes for a living. She says has been married for more years than she can remember. The duo has four kids together, but that doesn’t stop her husband from raising a hand or two on her, every once in a while. Every night, her husband would get drunk, hit her and forcefully demand to have sex, paying no heed to her resistance. Sunita has three daughters, and a son, and the husband still wants to have progenies. “I told my mother that this man has raped me multiple times. She protested, arguing that he is ‘your husband’ after all,” she said.
But did she never decide to approach the authorities?
To this, Sunita promptly replied, “I once had a sore eye after he (the husband) hit me with his shoe when I refused to have sex. I went to the local hospital and then the police. I narrated the entire scene; they were very considerate, offered me water and then asked me to go home and ‘adjust’.”
Sunita is unaware of a term called ‘marital rape’.
This is the reality of a huge part of the society in real India.
Like Baby and Sunita, women who suffer such indignities are often asked to “adjust” with perpetrators of violence because of a deep –embedded fear of what the society would say. This notion of an ‘ideal woman’ impedes women to object to illicit treatment meted out by their ‘better halves’.
The debate around the issue has become ripe once again with the Central Government stating that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the central government took a stand against criminalizing marital rape saying that it “may destabilize the institution of marriage” and also become easy tool for harass the husbands and the in-laws.
Rape is defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, but with an irregularity: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”
While rape is addressed as perforation without a woman’s accord in its main clause, the only remedy to forced intercourse provided to ‘married’ woman is specified under Section 498-A of the IPC and the civil provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestiic Violence Act.
Following the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya rape case that brought the entire world to a standstill, the Indian media has given paramount coverage to instances of rape across the country. But even after 5 years of the gut-wrenching incident, there seems no end to this crime.
Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence. However, rape by husbands within holy matrimony continues to remain an obscure subject in India and the exact number of cases is hard to gauge.
According to a 2015 report by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) tracing the proximity of offenders to the victims of sexual violence, it was revealed that in 95 per cent of all rapes, the offenders were familiar to the survivors. These, presumably include acquaintances, friends, relatives and colleagues.
And what about rape committed by husbands?
In light of the debate over marital rape, a reminder: if you actually ask women, almost all the sexual violence they face is from husbands pic.twitter.com/BRVXk0cbbJ
These cases continue to be an under-reported crime in India. This can be attributed to two major reasons,
Because of the stigma associated with it
Because of the presence of a defunct justice system
Furthermore, more often than not, these cases go missing because of several additional (and unnecessary) barriers stemming from a combination of familial and/or social power structures, shame and dependency.
Marital Rape In India
While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India.
A United Nations’ report titled ‘Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it?’ published in 2013 disclosed that nearly a quarter of 10,000 men in Asia-Pacific region, including India, admitted to have indulged in the rape of a female partner. The report traced their rationale to a deep-embedded belief that they are entitled to sex despite the consent of their partners.
The study also revealed that the majority of these instances were not reported and the perpetrators faced no legal consequences.
In 2014, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in association with International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) brought out a report titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’. Among other things, the report analyzed the average Indian male’s understanding and interpretation of the idea of ‘masculinity’ and how that molds their interactions with women.
Not surprisingly, the study revealed that a typical man in the Indian society associated the attributes ‘tough’, and ‘controlling’ with masculinity.
Segments of the present day Indian society continue to look at men as tough forces, who can (must) freely exercise their privilege to establish rule in personal relationships and above all, continue to control women.
Additionally, the study also revealed that 60 per cent of the Indian men disclosed the use of physical violence to establish authority.
In India, stiff patriarchal norms continue to tilt the gender balance firmly in the favor of men, as a result of which, women are forced to internalize male dominance in their lives.
Marital Rape in India : A Legal Perspective
Section 375 essentially distinguishes between two categories of women
Much to the Indian society’s disappointment, the Indian legal system denies protection from rape to the married woman. This creates discrimination as the women belonging to one section are denied justice merely by virtue of being married.
But can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman? Is it justified to discriminate a woman just because she is married to the man who has raped her?
The Debate Around Marital Rape In India
Despite the piquant situation, the issue raised furor when Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told the Parliament that the question of criminalizing marital rape in India has no relevance “as marriage is treated as sacred here.”
Does marriage being a sacrament provide one with the legal right to rape a woman?
South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly had retaliated saying that it is particularly concerning when a government that claims to secure the safety of women inside and outside national territory shamelessly turn to justify a crime in the name of culture and tradition.
India can learn something from its neighbours. Nepal has laws against marital rape, so does Bhutan
Group director of social and economic development at the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) Priya Nanda asserted in an interview with a leading portal that “the reason men don’t want to criminalize marital rape is because they don’t want to give a woman the power to say no.”
In 2013, a three-member commission headed by Justice J.S. Verma suggested remedial measures to combat sexual violence in India, following the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. One of its recommendations was the criminalization of marital rape.
The recommendation was ignored by the government as a large amount of people questioned its efficiency saying if made a crime,
It might be misused by people
It will be difficult to prove
It might break up marriages
But, how fair is it to not have a law against marital rape, only because of the reason that it is ‘difficult to prove’?
In a broader understanding, it needs to be understood that the criminalization of marital rape must not be viewed as a step against men or the institution of matrimony, but as an attempt to demolish the patriarchal system that continues to clutch the Indian society.
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