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Bihar polls third phase; sneak peek into the candidatures

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi:Undoubtedly the high-profile Bihar polls have drawn immense media attention. With two phases done and dusted, Bihar is geared up for the third phase. With the fate of the candidates hanging in perfect balance, a candid analysis of the profile of the candidates will provide a vivid picture of those who would represent the people of Bihar in the near future.

It was noted in the third phase that out of all the 808 candidates, 215 candidates, 27 per cent, have declared of having criminal cases against themselves.

Serious Crime: Notably, 162 candidates, 20 per cent of the total, have serious criminal cases sued against them. They have been booked against various offences including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, communal disharmony, kidnapping, crimes against women etc. 31 candidates have declared cases related to murder under Indian Penal Code (Section-302). Ajay Kumar, an Independent candidate from Kumhrarh constituency has the maximum murder charges with 8 cases against him.

Murder charge: While five candidates of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have murder charges against them, three of Communist Party of India(Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPI (ML)(L)), two from Janata Dal (United) (JD-U), two fielded by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), two candidates of Communist Party of India (CPI) and one each from Samajwadi Party (SP), Garib Janata (Secular), Jan Adhikar Party(Loktantrik) JAP(L)), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), Shiv Sena (SHS),  Samras Samaj Party,  BSP, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and nine Independent candidates have declared cases related to murder in their affidavits.

Attempt to murder: A total of 57 candidates have declared cases of having attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) chgarges against them.

Crimes against women: 12 candidates have outstanding cases related to crimes against women. These crimes include attempted rape, molestation, outraging of modesty, forcible confinement, torture and others.

Communal disharmony:  Four candidates claimed of having cases relating to causing communal disharmony.

Robbery and dacoity: 13 candidates have declared cases related to robbery and dacoity.

Kidnapping charges:  13 candidates have declared cases related to kidnapping.

BJP topped the charts with 21 out of its 34 candidates (62 %) having criminal charges.

Other notable parties’ statistics are as follows:

CPI – 7 out of 19 (37%),  BSP- 9 out of 47 (19%),

JD(U )-10 out of 18 (56%), SP -12 out of 31 (39%)

RJD-  17 out of 25 (68%) , INC -3 out of 7(43%)

Party wise crorepati candidates: 26 (76%) out of 34 fielded by BJP, 13 (28%) out of 47 candidates of BSP, 13 (72%) out of 18 candidates from JD(U), 5 (71%) out of 7 candidates from INC, 20 (80%) out of 25 candidates from RJD, 16 (52%) out of 31 candidates fielded by SP, 13 (54%) out of 24 candidates of JAP(L), 7 (70%) out of 10 candidates of LJP and 52 (19%) out of 276 Independent candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore.

Education details of candidates: 361 (45%) candidates have declared their education qualification to be between 5 th pass and 12th pass. While 384 (48%) candidates have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above, 54 candidates have declared themselves to be simple literates.

Gender details of candidates:  The third phase will witness 71 (9%) female candidates are contesting the Bihar assembly elections this year.

(With inputs from Bihar Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms)

Next Story

Women in Kyrgyzstan Fight Against Bride Kidnapping

“Now I perceive any man as an enemy. I never even think of getting remarried,”

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Kyrgyz brides and bridegrooms pray in the central mosque during a mass wedding ceremony in the capital Bishkek, Oct. 30, 2013. Fifty couples took part in the mass wedding ceremony sponsored by a state company. VOA

Walking proudly down a catwalk, the lights and glamour seemed like a lifetime away from Elzat Kazakbaeva’s nightmare ordeal five years ago when she was grabbed off a Kyrgyzstan street by a group of men wanting to marry her to an uninvited suitor.

Kazakbaeva is one of thousands of woman abducted and forced to marry each year in the former Soviet republic in Central Asia where bride kidnappings continue, particularly in rural areas.

Bride kidnapping, which also occurs in nations like Armenia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, was outlawed in 2013 in Kyrgyzstan where authorities recognized it could lead to marital rape, domestic violence, and psychological trauma.

But some communities still see it as a pre-Soviet tradition dating back to tribal prestige, said Russell Kleinbach, professor emeritus of sociology at Philadelphia University and co-founder of women’s advocacy group Kyz Korgon Institute.

Accepting abuse no more

Now a new generation of women is eschewing acceptance of this abuse, with their campaign escalating in 2018 when one kidnapped bride, Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, 20, was put in the same police cell as the man who abducted her — and stabbed to death.

Her killer was jailed for 20 years but her murder sparked national outrage and protests against bride kidnappings in a country where campaigners said tougher sentences were handed down for kidnapping livestock than women until recently.

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Newlyweds leave bride’s home. Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan. Flickr

Fashion designer Zamira Moldosheva is part of a rising public movement against bride kidnapping that has included such events as charity bike rides and flag installations with campaigners saying more events would be planned this year.

She organized a fashion show featuring only women who had been abused or kidnapped, dressed as historical Kyrgyz women.

“Can’t we women do something against the violence taking place in our country?” Moldosheva said in an interview in Bishkek, the capital of the majority Muslim nation of 6 million people.

“Bride kidnapping is not our tradition, it should be stopped,” she said, adding that bride kidnapping was a form of forced marriage and not a traditional practice.

Myth not tradition

Kazakbaeva, one of 12 models in the fashion show, said she was glad to participate in the event last October to highlight her ordeal and encourage other women to flee forced marriages.

Kazakbaeva, then a student age 19, was ambushed in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon outside her college dormitory in Bishkek and forced into a waiting car by a group of men.

“I felt as if I was an animal,” Kazakbaeva told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, her faced streaked with tears. “I couldn’t move or do anything at all.”

Kazakbaeva was taken to the groom’s home in rural Issyk Kul region, about 200 km (125 miles) east of Bishkek, where she was dressed in white and taken into a decorated room for an impending ceremony.

Kyrgyzstan, bride
Brides and grooms leave after a mass wedding ceremony in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, May 7, 2011. The wedding, held for 20 couples who could not afford their own celebrations, was sponsored by the Kyrgyz government. VOA

She spent hours pleading with the groom’s family — and her own — to stop the forced marriage.

“My grandmother is very traditional, she thought it would be a shame and she started convincing me to stay,” Kazakbaeva said.

When her mother threatened to call the police, the groom’s family finally let her go.

She was lucky to escape unwed, she said, and hoped the fashion show, depicting historical female figures, would help to bring the taboo subject to the fore.

“Women nowadays can also be the characters of new fairy tales for others,” said Kazakbaeva, dressed as a female freedom fighter from ancient Kyrgyzstan, which gained independence from Moscow in 1991. “I’m fighting for women’s rights.”

Women suppressing women

Kyrgyzstan toughened laws against bride kidnapping in 2013, making it punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which said it was a myth that the practice was ever part of the culture.

In a handful of cases the kidnappings are consensual, said Kleinbach, especially in poorer communities where the practice was akin to eloping to save costs of a ceremony or hefty dowry.

A UNDP spokeswoman said data was scant on the number of women abducted each year because many women did not report the crime through fear but they estimate about 14 percent of women younger than 24 are still married through some form of coercion.

“They don’t want to report, this is the issue,” Umutai Dauletova, gender coordinator at the UNDP in Kyrgyzstan, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Dauletova said most cases did not make it to court as women retracted their statements, often under pressure from female family members, fearing public shaming for disobedience or no longer being a virgin.

“This is the phenomenon of women suppressing other women,” she said.

Kyrgyzstan, bride
Young women in Kyrgyzstan participate in a project run by Kloop Media, a local media group, to build the country’s first satellite in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. VOA

Breaking taboos

Aida Sooronbaeva, 35, was not as fortunate as Kazakbaeva.

Back from school, at age 17, she found her grandfather tied up and her home smashed up so she hid until her brother tricked her to seek refuge with a friend whose family kidnapped her.

Initially she refused to marry their son and tried to escape but she said she was eventually worn down by social pressure in her village and was married for 16 years despite domestic abuse.

“He kept me at home, never letting me out, just in the yard,” said Sooronbaeva, exposing scars on her neck and stomach. “I lived with him only for the sake of my children.”

But a few years ago, the violence got so bad that she ran into the street where she was rescued by a passer-by and she finally found the courage to leave her husband.

Also Read: Kyrgyzstan’s First Satellite Built By Young Women

She said she hoped speaking out, and taking part in campaigns like the fashion show, would break the taboos surrounding forced marriage.

“Now I perceive any man as an enemy. I never even think of getting remarried,” said Sooronbaeva, adorned in heavy jewelry and colorful make-up.

But she added, with a note of optimism: “Women are strong, we can survive.” (VOA)