Indian Media supports 498a and Family Destruction

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Recently the Law Commission was once again tasked with the job of reviewing 498a , and once again recommending if this needed to  be changed.  However the interesting thing is the stand that the media has taken on this whole issue. From the type of media reports of the media a few salient points are amply clear.

Media was thoroughly enjoying the gender war:- Innocent men going to jail, Mothers and sisters being imprisoned, Men coming out with a sense of vengeance. Some men creating ingenious methods like filing cases for giving dowry or thousands of dharnas and press conferences taking place on 498a all made for excellent masala news which the media seemed to enjoy. There is a sense of dissatisfaction in the media that these will cease of 498a becomes billable and people stop suffering. Let us further analyze this paragraph further.

Media’s agenda of family breaking may fail:- Lets face it, media loves to see breaking families. Not only does breaking families leads to more spicy news like increasing crime,  breaking families brings immense financial gain to the media and its advertisers. How ? Here is how ….

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More laws not the answer in India

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M D Nalapat

This past week, attendance at cinema houses has suffered because of two stories that have repeatedly been shown on television. The star of the first is the 86-year old Congress Party politician,Narain Dutt Tiwari, who has been Chief Minister of two states,a Union Cabinet Minister,and till a few days ago,the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. According to the channels, a charming lady from his home state of Uttaranchal used to arrange for other – and much younger – women from the same location to visit the Governor in his official residence.

Although protocol demands that each appointment be cleared by the Intelligence Bureau, this was not done.Instead,the lovely young ladies were escorted by an Officer On Special Duty ( very special duty,indeed) past the security checkpoints at the Raj Bhavan to the waiting arms of His Excellency. No entry was made in the visitor logs,and the Chief of Security was informed that the ladies in question were all “close relatives” of the Governor. Of course, the “close relatives” usually looked very different from each other,thus raising questions as to the gene pool they belonged to being 86, Tiwari did not follow the example of some other Governors, who met their “relatives” in 5-star hotels rather than in their official residences. Indeed,in Delhi, at least two 5-star hotels are known for the multitude of charming “relatives” that come for short periods – sometimes at night but usually in the afternoons) to meet “Uncleji” for what must surely be chats about the weather. Others rely on close friends to provide the venues needed for such refreshing encounters, meetings that do so much to preserve family values and the spirit of togetherness. Sadly for Tiwari, his contact got annoyed because a promised coal mine allocation did not materialise. She promptly got one of the “neices” to film Uncleji as he gave learned discourses in the bedroom to her and to two other “neices”, discourses where the practical mingled happily with the theoretical.

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Who will save the men who are burnt?

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As I read this article, wherein Supreme Court judge is calling for hanging of people who burn brides, a hailstorm of thoughts crosses my mind. Being the Public Relations Officer of Save Indian Family Foundation, an NGO dedicated to promote the cause of Gender Equality and Family Harmony; I come across cases of men wronged by their wives on a daily basis wherein men are simply penalized for the mere fact that they are MEN.

One mere complaint of harassment from their wives, whether true or not, lands them in jail along with all their family members named in the complaint without any trial or investigation. Many lose their self-esteem, jobs even; commit suicide as evident from the suicide statistics available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). As per the statistics, 57593 married men committed suicide in 2007 vis-à-vis 30064 married women. Figures for 2006 were 55452 married men vs. 29869 married women while those for 2005 are 52483 married men vs. 28188 married women. Every year more and more married men are committing suicide. But still there is no protection given to men. A major contribution of this comes from the misuse of dowry laws against men wherein a social presumption works against them

Now coming back to the article I’ve referred, Markenday Katju, Justice, Supreme Court of India today made a statement that “Those who burn brides should be hanged.” But, who is going to prove that the bride was burned? Will a man be hanged if his adulterous wife puts kerosene on herself and dies of burning? Or if the parents of the girl kill their daughter and then put the blame on the husband, then will the husband be hung?

And when you make a gender biased statement, “Those who burn brides need to be hanged”, why is it that you are not ready to offer the same level of protection to married men who are burnt alive? What is their fault? According to the NCRB data 3400 married are burnt alive every year on an average.

Further, Justice Katju went on to say that, “They all say that. Every time they burn a bride, they say it was a suicide.” Now this is nothing short of imposing his own assumptions on to the society, a right which he does not have, not even as a Supreme Court judge. First of all, he has assumed that all married women who die of burning are killed by their in-laws. There is no basis for his assumption as death due to burning can happen due to any reason, even kitchen accidents, negligence by women, suicide etc. And it will definitely not be in the interest of justice to hang the husband for these cases but from what views have transpired out of Katju’s statement, it is clearly evident that he has taken a gender obsessed stand which is not acceptable from a Supreme Court Judge.

Justice Katju’s statements are a clear call for the need of Judicial Reforms. Also in addition, before hanging husbands for ‘allegedly’ burning brides, Justice Katju needs to remember that the police force does not conduct a fair inquiry into the incident and merely relies on statements and is thoroughly incompetent in collecting evidences. With such lousy investigation and presumptions working at the back of mind, justice cannot be expected out of courts and in such a situation; “Judicial Reforms” is the call of the day.

With M Veerappa Moily becoming the law minister and talking of “Judicial Reforms” as the first thing to be done, some hope is definitely restored because Judicial Reforms are utmost necessary in today’s times of deteriorating faith on the judiciary. With irresponsible statements coming from the judiciary, it is clearly evident that the intellectual level of the judiciary has severely degraded. SIFF calls upon all the citizens to take part in judicial reforms as that is the only way to reduce crime in the society. Today criminals have no fear of any punishment because either the judiciary is too slow and corrupt or is involved in social service with gender obsessed statements.

Justice Katju had also made controversial statement, Bow down before your wife wherein he told; listen to your wife, even if she sounds unreasonable. Such statements from the judiciary send a strong signal to men that they should not expect justice from the courts and the question still remains open, “Who will save men who are burnt?

My question to Justice Katju, “Can you?”, “Will you?”

Renuka Chowdhury, 54 MoS (Independent Charge) for Women & child Development

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New Delhi: Renuka Chowdhury, 54 MoS (Independent Charge) for Women & child Development

Result: -1/10

She was given independent charge of the Women and Child Development Ministry in 2006 after WCD, earlier under the Human Resource Development Ministry, was made a separate ministry. After three years, there is no marked difference in the condition of women and children in the country.

Her brief

In its manifesto in 2004, the Congress said that a nutritious mid-day cooked meal scheme will be introduced in primary and secondary schools across the country and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) will be universalised to provide for a functional anganwadi in every settlement and full coverage for children below the age of six. Chowdhury was also expected to reduce incidences of maternal and child mortality and malnutrition.

Reforms derailed

In 1997, judicial guidelines were set on protection against sexual harassment at the workplace, but the “high priority bill” is still shuttling between the National Commission for Women (NCW) and WCD.

Child labour has not been abolished, apart from a few baby steps taken by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), under the WCD Ministry.

The demand for additional guaranteed financial support from the expenditure finance committee for the ambitious and controversial proposal to give fortified pre-packaged food—instead of hot cooked meals—to poor children as part of the revamp of the ICDS was trashed by the Planning Commission.

OPPORTUNITIES BLOWN

The UPA government dropped attempts to strengthen the anti-Sati law, more than 20 years after it was first enacted. The proposed law was expected to increase prison terms for those committing as well as glorifying the practice.

After the Nithari incident, Chowdhury stressed on the need for a database of missing children. Till date, the NCPCR is still juggling to get the figures.

Proposed to the Home Ministry that it grant amnesty to women prisoners. A year after, the issue remains untouched.

Once talked of taking up the issue of dumped NRI wives but there has hardly been any step forward in the direction.

State child commissions were supposed to be set up. A Bill was passed in Parliament in 2006, but other than in Delhi and Kerala, the commissions haven’t been set up.

What was she thinking?

After the Mangalore pub attack by the Sri Ram Sene, where young women were attacked in an alleged incident of moral policing, she championed the cause of progressive city youth by calling for a “Pub Bharo” campaign and claimed that Mangalore had been “talibanised”.

High point

The enforcement of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005) in October 2006.

Low point

When she said “women must not trust their men” and guard themselves against HIV/AIDS, her statement drew flak from all quarters.

VIEW FROM THE SHADOW

“Except some debates and wordy duels, nothing substantive happened. WCD is a very important department.” —Murli Manohar Joshi, former HRD minister in the NDA government

Did she get your vote?

She lost in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, by a margin of 1.24 lakh votes.

Marry shades of grey!

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Harassed husbands? The SC’s recent observation calling for a review of dowry laws (on the grounds that they are often misused) might have women’s organisations up in arms but more and more ‘harassed’ husbands have been raising their voices after being falsely implicated. Sriranjitha Jeurkar investigates why many dowry cases no longer remain plain black and white today

My name is Kumar. I am 28 years old. I wanted to marry a poor girl, so that I could help a poor family. When I told my father about this, he suggested that I marry the daughter of one of his distant relatives, from a town in Andhra Pradesh. I believed that when he had chosen nothing but the best for me until now, he could not go wrong in this decision either. I agreed. I didn’t know much about the family, except that the girl’s father was a bus conductor. We demanded no dowry and even agreed to foot the wedding expenses.

It was a perfect wedding. My wife and I lived together for a month and she went back to her home for some rituals. That’s when I realised I had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from her. I was too embarrassed to tell my parents. When I asked my wife about it, she confessed that she had had an affair with someone else and had married me due to pressure from her family. “You didn’t ask for dowry, so we thought you had something to hide too,” she said.

I was shocked. But I wanted to save my marriage, so I asked her to come with me for treatment. She wasn’t interested. She told me that she would give me a divorce by mutual consent if I gave her Rs 5 lakh. And she didn’t want to discuss the matter with her parents because she was afraid they’d take away the money from her.

Still, I was glad she had told me the truth. I told my parents. Then my company sent me abroad for a project. We applied for divorce by mutual consent, and before I left, both of us went to the family court on six occasions. After I returned to India, she went back home saying that her mother was ill, and didn’t return — not even to attend the hearings. All of a sudden, she started saying that she didn’t want a divorce, and demanded that I pay her Rs 25,000 a month as maintenance. She claimed that I was earning far more than I really was, that my family had a lot of property (which is untrue) and said we had thrown her out of the house because she refused to bring Rs 2 lakh from her parents. She claimed that her family had spent a sum of Rs 10 lakh to conduct the wedding. She even went to the extent of saying that we had forged her signature on the divorce petition!

She filed a dowry case, and I was named as an accused — along with my mother, dad, cousin and aunt. I was taken into custody and stayed there for seven days, despite my family producing documents, which refuted her claims. She told me that if I paid her Rs 10 lakh in cash, she would withdraw the case. But she also had another demand —that I give it to her in writing that I am impotent.

My aged parents had to wait for three months to get bail. We were stripped, and our fingerprints taken, as if we were petty criminals.

Until then, we knew very little about the law, and even less about Section 498A. My parents, at one point were on the verge of committing suicide. Due to all the stress, my performance at work suffered. I was terminated. Three years later, the case is still on — and I am still looking for a job. I received three job offers — all of which were withdrawn once they conducted a background check and found out that I had a case pending against me. My future looks uncertain, but there’s one thing I’m sure about: I have lost faith in the institution of marriage. I will never marry again.

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (Dowry Prohibition and Prevention of Marital Cruelty) is aimed at protecting the woman from harassment — from either her husband or her in-laws. But the loopholes in the law have led to misuse by women across the country. The common perception, that a helpless woman is abused for dowry by her husband’s family and the law is her only saviour — is being turned on its head.

Bangalore-based advocate Shankarappa, who has been practicing law for the last 18 years, handling many high-profile cases, says that he has seen at least 120 cases of dowry harassment in his career, “But unfortunately about 100 of the complainants had falsely implicated their husbands and husbands’ families.”

Advocate M T Nanaiah says that approximately 80 per cent of the 600 dowry-related cases he has handled over 32 years have turned out to be false implications. “Most of the remaining 20 per cent cases are mostly small disagreements that arise in every household. They get converted into dowry harassment cases.”

No warrant, no investigation

What is it about the anti-dowry law that makes such blatant misuse possible? First, the entire case hinges on the statement or allegations made by the wife.  A single oral complaint can land the husband’s family in jail. No investigation or warrant is needed before police arrest the husband or his family, or begin proceedings. It is non-bailable; the accused must appeal before the court to seek bail. It is not compoundable: the complaint cannot be withdrawn. Worst of all, there is no punishment against the petitioner if the complaint is proved false. Besides, legal experts argue, since the police do not require any proof before arrest, it takes away a basic human right.

“Once a woman lodges a complaint, the husband and his relatives are implicated. Even the police register complaints without investigation. They drag the husband, aged in-laws and even young children to the station. The charges may be proved false later, but a criminal record is a criminal record, after all,” says Shankarappa.

Lawyers say that most women who file false dowry complaints do so for a few common reasons: to get out of a marriage; to get money, or a favourable divorce settlement; if they had a premarital affair, and were married off by force; for child custody; if they want an attitude change in the behaviour of the husband or the family; to take revenge on their husbands, or in most cases, to get out of a joint family setup.

And ironically, the law that aims at helping women, ends up harassing women too. The Save Indian Family Foundation contends that on an average, 30,000 women are jailed every year in connection with dowry cases. “Once the woman files a complaint, the mother-in-law, sister-in-law are also arrested. Why restrict the law to protecting only the wife? What kind of protection do these women have?” asks Philip, whose family was falsely implicated in a case. Virag Dhulia, a member of the Bangalore Chapter of the Save Indian Family Foundation — an organisation that provides support to harassed husbands — narrates his horror story. “A few months after our wedding, my wife went back to her parents’ home and didn’t return. She said she wouldn’t return unless I agreed to live away from my parents. Then her family filed a dowry harassment case against us,” he says.

Dhulia recalls how his parents, who are in their sixties, suffered for months — the fear of being arrested, anxiety about the regular court visits, and the outcome of the case, the shame and humiliation, all adding to their health problems.

In what is probably the first such instance in the State, Dhulia has filed a complaint against his wife for giving dowry. “My wife has, in her complaint, stated that she and her parents gave me dowry in the presence of their relatives. According to the Dowry Prohibition Act, taking, giving and abetting the giving of dowry is a crime — the giver and taker are equally culpable. I have not accepted dowry; but if as per her claim, she says she has given dowry, then she is guilty too.”

He says that at first, the police refused to file an FIR. “Then I went to the ACMM Court. The magistrate there took cognizance of this complaint and asked the jurisdictional police to investigate into the matter and file a report,” he explains.

Even four months after the court’s order, no action has been taken, Dhulia alleges. “I have now filed an RTI application to get information about the progress of the investigation, but have still not received any info.”

Help is at hand

The social stigma was what prompted Arun Murthy, yet another ‘498A victim’ to set up Sangyabalya — a helpline for ‘husbands and families victimised by the anti-dowry laws.’

The helpline was set up in 2003, after Murthy’s sister-in-law filed a dowry harassment complaint against his younger brother. “She was from an orphanage, and she said we had demanded dowry. It was ridiculous,” Murthy says. After his entire family — including his mother and sister were implicated — Murthy’s brother, a hardware engineer, lost his job and became a mental wreck. “I saw how the system works — people are arrested on Friday evening, so they cannot get bail. They have to stay in jail till Monday. And consider this — if you are a government employee, and you are in jail for more than 24 hours, even if under false accusations, then your job is in jeopardy.”

Murthy then wrote to a newspaper, and received many calls from other victims. That’s when he set up a helpline for these harassed husbands. A few months later, Sangyabalya was registered as an NGO.  “A lot of people are on the verge of suicide after being arrested. We give them moral support.  Sometimes, the lawyers take them for a ride, so we extend legal aid too. But most importantly, it is a collective voice for proper representation of our problems,” he says.

The Save Indian Family Foundation, another organisation that aid people implicated under Section 498A, was first set up as an online community, but later evolved into an NGO. The Foundation now has set up helplines for men in distress. The members of the Bangalore chapter meet at Cubbon Park every Saturday. New members who approach the Foundation are given moral support, and legal advice. “Usually when someone is implicated like this, he tends to feel that he is the only one facing such a problem. When they come here and see that they are not alone, then they feel that they have some support.”

Members of the foundation, who come from various backgrounds — from software to government service — study the law and help each other with inputs on how to fight their cases.

There are several other organisations working for these ‘harassed husbands’, but most of them have common demands. “The problem arises from extravagant marriages. The giving and taking of dowry should be tackled. No one makes it a point to stop this at the source. After all, prevention is better than cure,” says Dhulia.

Murthy agrees, “There should be a mandatory registration of marriages with a record of all gifts exchanged. These gifts are referred to as dowry when things go wrong. And such disputes are family matters. There should be proper counselling available, before the woman goes to the police.”

He adds, “The law in itself is not bad. What we need is thorough checks and balances to ensure that it is not misused. We assume that women are all white and men, all black. We must acknowledge that there are shades of grey everywhere.”

But most important, these organisations say, is to make provision for action against those who file false complaints, and to ensure that no arrests are made without proper evidence. “Once the complainant sends her husband and his family to jail, chances of reconciliation are few. She thinks its a victory. But that’s the only victory, things go downhill from there,” Murthy says.

That probably underlines the need for a thorough review of the law as it exists now. The loopholes have to be plugged, activists say, and soon. For the welfare of the women, so that genuine victims of dowry harassment do not suffer because of those who have misused the law. That is the only hope, for the welfare of hundreds of women across the country.

(Some names have been changed to protect identities.)

Review necessary?

Justice J D Kapoor of the Delhi High Court had recommended a review of the dowry laws. He suggested that Sections 406 (misappropriation of dowry articles) and 498A (harassment for dowry) be made bailable and if necessary, compoundable, in cases where no grave physical injury has been inflicted.

He had observed, “There is a growing tendency to come out with inflated and exaggerated allegations roping in each and every relation of the husband and if one happens to be of higher status or of vulnerable standing, then he or she becomes an easy prey for blackmailing and bargaining.” Some suggestions of the judge are:

Such cases should be investigated by civil authorities, and cognisance taken only after findings. Only police officer above the rank of ACP should investigate harassment and misappropriation of items. A DCP should investigate dowry death cases.

When minor, schoolchildren are named, they should not be arrested or sent to court.

International Women’s Day 2009

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Join our Dharna and support us on International Women’s Day, 2009!!!

All India Forgotten Women (Regd.) and Mothers and Sisters Initiative (Regd.)

Contact:
9810452017 (Dr. Anupama), 09704683163 (Uma), 9810611534 (Swarup),

9971117829 (Sandeep), 9818332305 (Neeraj), 9811052770 (Niladri)

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Press Release

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In the year 1910, Clara Zetkin, a German women’s rights advocate, proposed that “every year, in every country, there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands”.  Ever since, International Women’s Day is being observed in various countries across the world.

In order to press for our demands that have been ignored and brushed aside by mainstream women’s organizations, lawmakers and our elected representatives, we, the members of All India Forgotten Women (AIFW) and Mothers and Sisters Initiative (MASI), are organizing a Dharna on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2009, in front of the office of the National Commission of Women between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm.

In India, we not only have a Ministry dedicated to women’s welfare but also a National Commission for Women and several regional and local organizations representing the cause of women.

The Government of India is constantly doling out pro-women policies in the name of providing equal rights, imparting education, improving health, and encouraging women’s participation in all walks of life. It has passed several laws in the name of addressing problems such as dowry harassment, dowry death, marital cruelty, domestic violence, rape, indecent representation of women, to name a few.

Women’s rights activists have been successful in pressuring the police, judiciary and media to take a lenient approach towards women and grant them special privileges compared to men. They constantly remind women of their “hard won” rights and privileges in the society, and the need to protect and exercise them.

In spite of all the above, we continue to hear that the status of women in the country is only worsening every day. One is bound to wonder why granting more and more privileges and protections to women would lead to worsening of the status of women in the society? Here is why:

The Ministry of Women and Child Development, the National Commission for Women and other powerful women’s organizations comprise of radical feminists who are anti-men and anti-family. These radical feminists have become self-appointed authorities who determine what is good for all women in the country, and have assumed proprietary rights on the drafting and implementation of all policies and laws related to women. In their regime, spread of anti-male sentiments and superficial appeasement of women take precedence over real empowerment of women. Laws pushed by radical feminists under the guise of empowering women are, in reality, weapons that facilitate abuse by women, violate basic human rights of men, women and children and promote family destruction.

In the last four years, over 123,497 women have been arrested under IPC Section 498A alone, without evidence or investigation, not for committing any crime under law, but only because they were related to a man. The recently amended Section 41 of CrPC, which redefines police powers of arrest, imposes greater accountability on the law enforcement machinery while carrying out arrests, and ensures that unnecessary arrests are avoided.  While these amendments represent a step in the right direction to uphold basic human rights and constitutional rights of men and women, radical feminists are opposing these amendments. They parrot exaggerated statistics of crimes and injustices against women, label them as gender-driven discrimination and abuse, and press for draconian legislations that penalize the innocent.

  • Does penalizing innocent women under false cases bring justice to genuinely abused women?

Recent data from the National Crime Records Bureau indicates that nearly twice as many married men, compared to married women, commit suicide every year, unable to withstand verbal,emotional, economic and physical abuse and legal harassment. While every death of a young married woman is converted into a case of dowry death, leading to immediate arrest of the husband and in-laws, large-scale suicides of men are completely ignored. While husbands and their relatives are under constant suspicion leading to frequent violation of their basic human rights, wives are rarely ever questioned leave alone prosecuted if a husband dies or ends his life under similar circumstances. Suicides of men only make for the brief stories we often read in newspapers stating that a certain man “killed himself due to family issues or financial problems”. No Ministry has been set up to support our sons and brothers. No laws have been passed to protect them from abuse.

  • Is the pain of a mother who lost a son to domestic abuse or legal terrorism any less than that of a mother who lost a daughter?

Radical feminists disparaged the Indian family as oppressive and Indian men as abusive, and portrayed the streets as far safer for women than their own homes. They have urged women to break free from the slavery of home, family and childrearing, and, instead, become slaves of government and corporate enterprises. Not surprisingly, radical feminists have neither been able to ensure the security nor the happiness that they had promised to women outside the home. They now cry foul saying that crimes and abuses against women have only been increasing. Notwithstanding the fact that men and women are equally vulnerable to violence and crime committed by members of either sex, radical feminists claim that crime against women is gender-driven, thus, pitting women against men in the society.

  • Does inciting a gender war solve women’s problems within and outside the home?

Radical feminists even went a step further to promote chaos in the society by pitting women against women. They introduced IPC Section 498A which allows arrests and jailing of innocent mothers and sisters of men based on a mere complaint by a disgruntled daughter-in-law. They introduced the Domestic Violence (DV) Act which allows a daughter-in-law to evict her mother-in-law out of her own property and render her homeless. If you think this is outrageous, here is the coup de gras: on the one hand radical feminists demanded that adultery be treated as a crime when committed by men. On the other hand, they demanded that adulterous women be considered as victims and not penalized under criminal law. They ensured that the DV Act empowers a wife to violate marital norms with impunity and also claim residence and maintenance rights in spite of being unfaithful to the husband. Through the DV Act they also sought to grant live-in partners and concubines the same legal status as a legally wedded wife. The end result is that the protections and privileges, granted to a live-in-partner or concubine, violate the rights of a legally wedded wife and dependent female members of a man’s family.

  • Does women’s equality mean empowerment of morally bankrupt women at the expense of responsible, family-loving women?

The Ministry of Women and Child Development claims that safeguarding the interests of children is paramount in its agenda. However, the same Ministry has left no stone unturned to ensure that children are mercilessly torn away from fathers in cases of marital separation or divorce. The Ministry pushed the DV Act which even allows for the passing of ex-parte orders to take away the custody of a child from the father without a just and fair enquiry to assess the suitability of guardianship by either or both parents. The Act includes provisions for passing of restraining orders that eliminate all contact between a father and child, only based on the self-serving statements of a vindictive wife. Thus, the DV Act violates a child’s right to the love and affection of both parents, and promotes a fatherless society.

  • Does women’s empowerment mean destroying family harmony and creating a fatherless society?

Radical feminists raise a hue and cry about dowry harassment by husbands and in-laws and portray India as a country where brides are routinely burned for dowry. They spread paranoia about how unsafe women are in their marital homes because of the “evil practice” of dowry. The same radical feminists do not oppose extravagant marriages or giving of dowry. Consequently, the ever increasing marriage related expenses in the present consumerist economy are causing mortal fear in the minds of parents about giving birth to a girl. Radical feminists who turn a blind eye to excessive marriage expenditures and giving of dowry, but indulge in alarmism about dowry harassment are, in fact, promoting female foeticide and discrimination against the female child. These very feminists turn around and blame all the problems of their own creation on what they call the “male-dominated society” in order to garner funds from international agencies, and also to lobby for more stringent anti-male laws that aid legal terrorism and violation of basic human rights.

  • Is the cause of women’s empowerment synonymous with Gobbelian propaganda, legal terrorism and human rights violations?

Radical feminists, who claim to represent the interests of all women, have been pushing for more and more rights and privileges, disregarding how many existing rights, opportunities and privileges are poorly utilized and even quite often misused by women.  They advocate rights and privileges for women without prescribing any concomitant duties or responsibilities towards the family and society. Consequently, today, there are more women who are separated or divorced. There are more women indulging in illicit relationships. There are more unwanted pregnancies. There are more women raising fatherless children. There are more literate but uneducated and morally bankrupt women, who are living parasitic lives by siphoning money away from an estranged husband or partner. There are more women who abuse laws to destroy families and the society, as they themselves self-destruct.

  • Is this the notion of women’s empowerment that hard-working, self-respecting and individualistic women subscribe to?

It will not be an exaggeration to state that the Ministry of Women and Child Development and organizations like the National Commission for Women are protecting the interests of unscrupulous women, while the rest of the society pays the price.

The recent Mangalore pub incident and the responses of radical feminists represent another good example of women’s empowerment gone awry.

In the past, when rural women destroyed liquor shops and beat up men who drank or sold alcohol, they became heroes and their acts were cheered. Achieving prohibition was seen as a victory of the women’s movement and a sign of women’s empowerment. In the recent times, the Minister of Women and Child Development dealt a death blow to the women’s movement by championing urban women’s right to frequent pubs and drink as a token of their empowerment and equality with men. The National Commission for Women seems to be more passionate about protecting women indulging in the luxury of drinking alcohol in pubs, while 30% of Indian women still walk up to 10 kilometers everyday to fetch a pot of drinking water, which is a basic necessity.

It has become crystal clear that radical feminists only create more problems in the name of solving existing ones. They can neither device nor support sustainable solutions, policies and laws which will actually benefit women because if the status of women improves, the gender card will be rendered redundant, and can longer be used to reap any political or financial gains. The survival of radical feminist outfits and politicians who dance to their tunes depends on stoking anti-male sentiments, destroying the family and creating chaos in the society.

It is high time sensible, responsible and enlightened women take charge of the situation and restore sanity in the society before things go out of hand. All India Forgotten Women (AIFW) and Mothers and Sisters Initiative (MASI) comprise of women who work towards promoting family harmony and true gender equality, with the goals of maintaining social stability and nurturing responsible citizens in the country.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2009, we make the following demands to the Government of India:

  • We demand immediate implementation of CrPC Amendments 2008 to protect us and our dear ones from legal terrorism and human rights violations.
  • We demand equal protection to men and women under law.
  • We demand laws and policies that promote family harmony.
  • We demand severe penalty for anyone misusing legal provisions to settle personal scores.
  • We demand that balanced, responsible, family-loving women are given charge of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Women.
  • We demand a Ministry for Men to cater to the needs and welfare of our brothers and sons.

We request esteemed members of the print and electronic media to join us and provide unprecedented coverage for our event.

Event supported by:

http://www.savefamily.org, http://www.saveindianfamily.org, http://www.mynation.net, http://www.protectindianfamily.org, http://www.ghrs.in


Update: Picture Albums:

Press Release Announcing V Day Dharna in Bangalore

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Sub: Peaceful protest against rampant misuse of dowry laws and domestic violence laws.

Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), an NGO dedicated to promote the cause of Gender Equality and Family Harmony, is organizing a peaceful protest against the deteriorating Indian family culture due to rampant misuse of Section 498A IPC, Domestic Violence Act and the dowry laws. The protest will be held on the 14th February 2009 on M.G.Road in front of Mahatma Gandhi Statue from 10: 00 AM to 1 PM. Nearly 150 people from all walks of life like, Engineers, Doctors, Businessmen, Service class, Government Employees, Software Professionals, NRIs, Chartered Accountants, Finance Consultants to name a few will be joining us in our endeavor to raise voice against this spreading “Legal Terrorism”.

In the last few years, marriage has become a crime for Indian men. Multiple cases, containing false and baseless allegations, under Section 498A and the Domestic Violence Act are being filed against Husbands and their parents and relatives. These false cases are filed with a pervert motive of, either treating the Husband as FREE ATM MACHINE, separate him from his immediate family, to grab his property, to hide the wife’s illicit relationships and extra marital affairs, to deny access of his children to the father, or for any reasons other than actual Dowry Harassment and Domestic Violence.

There is no investigation done on the complaints received, nor any evidences are verified before registering a case and arbitrarily arresting people. Because of such malpractices, more and more number of married men are losing their jobs and committing suicides as well. Some shocking statistics, regarding the misuse as per data available from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB),

  1. 1,23,000 women (mothers, sisters and other female relatives of husbands), have been arrested in the last four years (2004-2007) merely on the basis of complaints by wives under Section 498A, without trial or investigation, whereas even the barbaric British Government arrested only 20,000 women in 40 years.
  2. 57,000 married men have committed suicide in 2007, of which 16,000 are directly due to domestic abuse. In the last 11 years (1996-2007) 1,56,000 married men have committed suicide directly due to domestic violence. Equivalent figures for women are 83,787 which means in the last 11 years the number of married men’s suicides has been 1.86 times that of married women’s suicides.
  3. Family disputes and Domestic Violence is the number one killer for married men as 26% of suicides are directly attributed to the above cases.

In addition to the above, a study done by the Center for Social Research, a Govt. body has found that there is only 2% conviction in dowry cases. Keeping in mind the fact that in dowry cases, it is the accused that have to prove their innocence rather than prosecution proving them guilty, as the accused is innocent until proven guilty. If the complaints had been true there should have been 100% conviction. But an abysmally low rate of conviction only shows that the complaints are entirely false, uninvestigated and totally unprosecutable.

But the criminal justice system has broken to such an extent that it has become a handy tool in the hands of unscrupulous people to utilize it as a tool to settle personal scores. Some of the problems that people face who are falsely accused in such cases, are:-

  1. Their productive years are wasted in the precincts of a litigating corridor fighting an unnecessary battle that ultimately declares them innocent after a long and arduous legal battle.
  2. Their social prestige and reputation are brutally murdered and perhaps never restored.
  3. Many people lose their jobs and commit suicide being unable to bear the pressure.
  4. Multiple cases in various cities, as per the wish of the wife, are filed for the same false stories and husbands are forced to pay maintenance even before the matter is decided, in the name of interim maintenance and in many cases it has been found that the wife is either earning or well capable to earn but does not do so merely to extort maintenance money from husband. Sometimes they even earn but lie in the courts and get away with it.
  5. The process itself is more barbaric than the punishment.

It is not merely a false case that is lodged. But on one complaint the entire state machinery of law and order is set in motion against the husband and his family who are humiliated, terrorized and traumatized by the process and even blackmailed and extorted in the name of ‘settlement and compromise’. The criminal justice system has lent itself to be used as a state sponsored tool in the process funded by tax payer’s money, 82% of which is paid by men. Even the Honorable Supreme Court in its various landmark judgments has coined the term “Legal Terrorism” to such rampant misuse of dowry laws and urged the Government to take immediate steps to put checks and balances in the system.

Very recently Honorable Chief Justice of India Shri. K.G.Balakrishnan has expressed serious concern over the growing misuse at a Seminar organized by the National Commission for Women. Added to that, Honorable Chief Justice of Karnataka Shri P.D.Dinakaran had also voiced the problems that men face when false cases under Domestic Violence Act are lodged against them at a workshop organized for Awareness of Domestic Violence Act. Even Honorable President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil has agreed in a recent speech, that there is widespread misuse of the dowry laws by women in the country. Time and again various judges of the High Court and Supreme Court have repeatedly expressed displeasure on the misuse of dowry laws and Domestic Violence Act and have recommended several corrective measures which have fallen on deaf ears so far, sadly enough.

SIFF receives weekly 250 – 300 calls over its various helplines from husbands all over India and abroad about not only the misuse, but also how they are facing rampant domestic violence from their wives and in-laws which can be physical, emotional, mental, and economic in nature. And SIFF has been creating awareness about this issue through its various awareness campaigns wherein it has repeatedly urged the Government to take note of this issue. However, the current form of the Domestic Violence Act does not allow husbands to make a complaint of domestic violence and get relief. And there is no proposal from the Government to review it either despite SIFF and its partner NGOs making repeated requests to the Government.

SIFF is deeply concerned that the family system in India is in grave danger. When foreigners are looking up to Indian customs and marrying as per Indian traditions, our own people have gone blind in aping the western culture in the name of Westernization. Our cultural values and respect for tradition is getting lost as the youth, today is more concerned about its own liberalism and individuality rather than family values. Vested interests call the Indian family as oppressive and brainwash the young minds against the family system. The Government is urged to call upon a national debate to address the issue of the dying family system of India.

In this protest on 14th February 2009, SIFF places its demands before the Government and the society as follows:-

  1. Form a National Commission for Men and a Men’s Welfare Ministry to look into the issues that men are facing.
  2. Clear the huge backlog of pending matrimonial cases and appoint evening courts and more judges for the same.
  3. Allow the citizens, especially the youth to participate in policy decisions affecting their life.
  4. Eliminate all gender biased laws and replace them with Gender neutral laws by replacing the words “Husband” and “Wife” with “Spouse” and “Man” and “Woman” with “Person”.
  5. Eliminate all redundant legal provisions of applying for maintenance by the wife.
  6. Amend the Domestic Violence Act which currently does not cater to female to female violence, female to male violence and male to male violence.
  7. Police should be kept away from the family matters and there should be no ‘counseling’ whatsoever in police station.
  8. Child interviews should be totally banned in child custody cases as in most of the cases the custodian parent poisons the child against the non-custodian parent. Interviewing such a child is a torture on the child.
  9. Misusers of laws should be punished with severe punishment. In a criminal case either the complainant or the accused have to be punished depending on whether the complaint is false or true. No settlement should be allowed in criminal cases.
  10. Owing to skyrocketing suicides due to family distress and domestic disputes, a national debate needs to be called for. The debate needs to address the issues the current family system faces.
  11. There should be no discrimination of taxes at the same salary levels on the basis of gender.
  12. The police, the mediators and the courts need to be sensitized about the issues of men and should be trained adequately to understand the problems of a husband before terrorizing him into a forced settlement. Monetary compensation for a broken marriage should be the last resort and should be resorted to only in the rarest of rare cases and cannot be more than six months of the income of the earning spouse.

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