UN rapporteur comes calling, lends an ear to Ishrat's mother
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HAVING earlier approached several forums in the country, Shamima Kauser, 45, whose daughter Ishrat Jahan was killed along with three others in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat nine years ago, made an emotional appeal on Sunday before Rashida Manjoo, a United Nations Special Rapporteur.
Manjoo, who is in India to collect testimonies of violence against women through a "civil society interaction", was in Mumbai to interact with over 25 women's groups, NGOs and victims from across Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Jharkhand who testified and brought to the rapporteurs attention cases of violence against women in their respective states.
Ishrat, who was a student at a city college, was the sole bread-earner of her family. "Mostly men have fallen prey to encounter killings. My daughter was the first woman to have been killed in the name of an encounter. It has been a long fight. My family has faced social boycott and no one is ready to marry my other daughters. My son has been struggling to get a regular job," said a teary-eyed Shamima. She lives in Kausa with her daughter and son.
Activist Sowmya Uma said, "The law misses out on the aspect of mass crimes. Under the State law, crimes are looked at in isolation and a holistic approach is missing." She pointed out the urgent need for a victim and witness protection programme.
Even as cases of crimes against women have been on the rise, Dalit women face the wrath on multiple levels, said Dalit women rights activists Chaya Khobragade and Urmila Pawar. In their presentation, the duo discussed the Khairlanji killing – a family was wiped out and women were raped. "Dalit women face oppression on every level and continue to suffer silently," Pawar said.
Women from the Valmiki community, who worked as manual scavengers in Rajasthan, narrated the discrimination faced by them. Each group also gave their grievances and suggestions to Manjoo in writing.