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Is Rape Becoming an Epidemic in Gujarat?
|by DwarikaNath Rath|
Gang Rape in Patan College: A Shocking Revelation
It is not the saga of gang rape like Bilkis Bano in 2002 Carnage in Gujarat. It is the story of a poor girl student studying in Patan PTC College who became victim of gang rape by her six teachers of the same college. The lecturers of PTC college of Patan were empowered with internal marking, took the advantage of her poverty, and raped her 14 times in four and half months inside the college and in the village during internship.
As other incidents, this incident too could have been dumped inside the four walls of Patan PTC college if she had not fainted during the prayer on date 31st January and the bold step taken by only lady lecturer Bhartiben Patel followed by courageous 97 girl students and their guardians. This incident has shaken the whole state and students and people are coming out spontaneously to express their anguish. The people of Patan are very angry and want exemplary punishments be given to those teachers.
The victim girl comes from very poor background from Jetalvasana village of Visnagar Taluka of Mehsana district. She scored 89% in 10th std. and 70% in 12th std. without tuitions. As she proved her intelligence, the family with five children decided to drop their son from the school to continue her education. The father of the victim is a daily laborer. The victim girl waned to be a doctor. But the poor economic condition of the family opted her for the PTC course such that she can become the teacher and become self employed. She was admitted to Patan PTC College on 24th July 2007.
The victim girl had the aspirations to become a teacher after completion of her course. Innocent she was and with the values to respect teachers, she was unaware what is going to happen to her by the teachers whom she considered as Gurus. As other girls, she too was very innocent to know that about she has landed in the world of prowlers in this college.
Girl Caged by the Rapist Teachers
Just after 50 days of her admission in the college, on one eventful day November 9th, 2007, she was summoned by Mr. Ashvin Kumar Parmar to Educational Technology room after recess. She did not know what was going to happen to her, went to meet him in the ET room. There she found two other teachers along with Prof. Ashvin Parmar. As she entered the room, the door was closed by Ashvin Kumar. She was dumb founded, shocked and felt that the heaven has fell on her head when Ashvin Kumar disrobed her forcibly and raped her followed by other two ' Prof. Manish Parmar and Prof. Mahendra Prajapati. Now, the girl was under their clutch, with nude photographs taken in the mobile and they threatened her of dire consequences if she tells to anyone.
After 15 days of this incident, Prof. Manish Parmar called her to the laboratory, where Prof. Kiran Patel and Prof. Suresh Patel were already present. They raped her and Prof. Kiran Patel sexually abused her as he was sexually impotent.
As a part of internship, the students were taken to Khumbhwa village from 31st December 2007 to 11th January, 2008. Accompanied by Prof. Suresh Patel, Prof. Kiran Patel and Prof. Manish Parmar, they celebrated the New Year by raping her at 8 p.m. and before they departed from Village on 11th after cultural programme during the dead night time of 3:30 a.m. again they raped her. After the gang rape by the 5 teachers, it was the time for Prof. Atul Patel, the most influential man, close to Anandiben Patel, the Kingpin, raped her just before republic day on 25th January 2008 in the computer room. He threatened her to kill her if she exposed the matter.
During the period of gang rapes the victim was traumatized and fainted most of the times. The lecturers took her to a witch doctor and asked the witch doctor to exorcise the evil Spirit. They took other girls with the victim to ensure the belief that she is empowered by evil spirit.
Profiles of Lecturers in Patan College
Ms. Josidhaben Joshi - The warden is Jashodaben Joshi who uses to advise girls to get used to it and scolded girls when the girls complained about the sexual harassments. Jashodaben was more concerned about menstrual cycle of the girls and used to carry them at night to male doctor Dr. Lalit Modi. It has come to light that lecturers used to visit the girls hostel in the name of giving them lesson and enter their rooms. When the guardian tried to draw attention of the Warden, she used to say that character of your daughter is not good. The lecturers used to say give smile and get marks. They used to ask girls to put honey on their lips.
Prof. Atul Patel is close to Anandiben Patel. He headed the election campaign of Anandi Ben Patel in 2002. He is the kingpin of sex racket. He masterminded the transfer of Bharatiben Patel. There was complaint against him but he could manage and suppress all complaints. He got Ramanujan Award in Mathematics. Prof. Atul Patel's proximity with Anandiben Patel is known. He threatened the victim girl after rape to kill if she exposed the facts.
Principal K.T. Puraniya, who took the charge from Prof J.K. Chaudhury, was hand in gloves with all these teachers. The present Principal is also not free from sexual misconduct, when he was a Principal in Palanpur. There is a nexus between the male teachers and management that authority turns blind eye towards sexual abuse cases.
The lecturer drew lot to rape first. After the rapes, the teachers used to give high dose of anti pregnancy pill and shaved the pubic hairs by razor blade not to leave trace of semen. They used to keep condom with them. And takes photos in mobile phone and video cameras too. All these acts can only be performed by only experienced rapists with criminal mind.
The Outrage of the Students and Assault of the Teachers
The students took the advice of Prof Bharatiben Patel and informed the guardians without wasting time. The guardians rushed to the college and were shocked and angry hearing the heinous acts of the teachers. On 4th February morning the PTC students assaulted the accused lecturers with sticks, bricks, damaged their bikes. Had not the police intervened, they would have lynched those teachers!
25,000 people of Patan joined in a protest rally. Patan town remained closed for two days. The people of Patan could not believe that such gruesome incident can happen in the ancient capital of Gujarat. The anger is so high that they have asked to handover those six teachers. If they are not punished, they will punish them. Now the six teachers are in remand. And now their semen test has matched
The desperate students along with the guardians went to Gandhinagar on 7th February and they were not allowed to meet either the Chief Minister or the Education Minister. The P.A. to Education Minister said, it is very normal thing and 'it goes on'. The guardians are of opinion that it has been happening since the days of Anandiben Patel. In reply, Anandiben said, those who cannot tolerate victory of BJP are against her. She said moreover "no complaint sexual harassment had ever reached her." Every one believes she is just lying.
28 students filed complains of being molested by lecturers over internal marks in Patan PTC college.
The sexual harassment of the girls in not new in Patan PTC College. In 2004, one Draksha Parmar filed a complain against Manish Parmar. But the case was sealed by the then Principal J.N. Chaudhary.
The victim girl was shifted to Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad where she had to wait for 3 hours in casualty and 3 more hours to be attended by Doctors. Though the incident of Patan Gang Rape got wide media coverage, and apparent Govt. attention, but she was shabbily treated. She got more curious attention than the real medical attention.
The National Commission of Women visited Patan. NCW believes that more girls were raped and made following recommendations that
NCW was surprised of police inaction.
'Education dept. is the worst in responding to complaints. It deputes male officers to do per functionary inquiry and dispose of the case citing lack of evidence. When we protest, they tell us they do not have enough lady officers'. Said senior official of the committee. Most victims prefer to suffer silently or swim with the tide, rather than report sexual harassment at work.' Times of India 8th February 2008.
The dept. of women and Children development is under Ms. Anandiben Patel and out of 65 cases of sexual harassment one third is from education dept.
It is believed that Education Department of Gujarat did not bother about sexual abuse in this College. Education Department has received 18 complains out of which 11 are disposed and 7 cases are pending as on 31st January 2008.
The statement of the victim girl was taken in presence of D.S.P. Raghvendra, R.D.C. M.D. Modia, senior lecturer Bhartiben Patel, one doctor and few students. As per IPC 376 and 506, six lecturers were arrested on the same day of the incident. In Patan, Judicial Court on 7th February, the statement of victim was taken under Section 164 and sealed.
The Agony of Internal Marks
It is believed that the sexual harassment has become common in PTC College. In Meghraj Taluka, Patan type of incident took place 22 years back where 15 girls became victim. Girls of South Gujarat were given admission. Lecturers used to come drunk and abuse girls. 15 police cases were lodged. The cases were suppressed and girls were not given degree. There was an incident in Self Finance Women's College, Palanpur in 2006. The students were taken on excursions to Goa and Maharashtra. They were taken by Prof. Kanubhai Patel to Cruise Party. He threatened the girls not to report the matter. Prof. Padmaben opposed it. She was harassed. Later Prof. Kanubhai was arrested. Now the case is in Tribunal.
Why The Rush in PTC Colleges
Of course in Gujarat the way the PTC colleges have mushroomed there are already 65,000 PTC teachers unemployed in the state and this year more than 30,000 will join the wagon of unemployed teachers.
The girls in Gujarat are thinking of economic independence. and taking admissions in various professional courses. There are 16000 girls studying in PTC in Gujarat in 134 girls PTC colleges. In most of these colleges, there are no lady lecturers or even women warden. There it is compulsory for girls to stay in hostels. They have to pay all the fees including hostel fees, mess fees for the whole year and are given food for 7 months only. The expense in Self Finance colleges is very high compared to government colleges. There is no economic help or scholarship for the poor students to pursue their higher studies. All are in paper. The much publicized Beti Bachao (Save Girl Child ) and Kanya Kelvani (education of girls) in Jago Gujarat campaign by the Chief Minister Narendra Modi has become a mockery
The perverted minds of teachers empowered with internal marking has allowed to prey like wolfs on the girl students. Education associated with Degrees, jobs, insecurity, poverty has created such situation. National Council of Teachers' Education [NCTE] introduced the policy of Self Finance in PTC. The Self Finance institutes have mushroomed in the state. There are 431 PTC colleges, most of them self financed. Most sexual harassments were so shameful that 3 Self Finance colleges in Kheda, Sabarkantha, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar district were to be closed. That is a matter of great concern that male lecturers were teaching in girls PTC colleges. When questioned they said, there are not enough female lecturers. If so how six women lecturers were sent to Patan PTC College after the arrest of six lecturers? And how Girls' College with male lecturers was allowed to run not only in Self Finance colleges, but also in government colleges?
There is no dearth of lady teachers for the PTC colleges run by DIET as told by Anandini Patel the present education minister, Raman Vora.
Patan incident is just a tip of an iceberg. It has posed many questions before us. Educational institutes diverge from society, degree, job and insecurity, lack of economic assistance or scholarship to poor students, empowering lecturers with internal marking, lack of public watch dog system, absence of students power through students elections, compulsory boarding in hostels, deterioration in the character of lecturers and wardens and absence of women's grievance redressal cell in the colleges in the state and many more.
The Question of Magisterial Enquiry
No term of reference for magisterial probe. The order for the probe did not mention the terms and condition for the probe. The Patan district collector will conduct the inquiry as per the rules and set up by the state Govt. The motive behind the crime which is the internal marks should have been included in terms and conditions of inquiry. There is every doubt that the inquiry will meet the same fate and lead no where.
The magisterial enquiry has lost it's credibility in Gujarat. All are demanding a CBI enquiry and expect all the Action Taken Report (ATR) be made mandatory. The NHRC has issued the notice to the Government of Gujarat and has sought reply in four weeks.
The Directive of the Supreme Court is Flouted
There is a myth that Gujarat is safe for women. On paper it is safe so long the incident of sexual abuses and the rapes are not exposed. All attempts are taken to suppress the matter such that the image of the state remains clean. The Govt. of Gujarat is totally indifferent to the Gang rape incident in Patan except the magisterial enquiry. As per the Vishakha verdict passed in 1997 by the Supreme Court, offers guidelines for the prevention of sexual abuses at the work place and the disciplinary action to be taken against the erring one. Except few places most of the places in Gujarat do not have the appropriate complain mechanism for the redressal of the complain of the victim, where the complaints committee to be headed by the women and not half of the member should be women. With involvement of third party like voluntary organization or people's committee and annual report be prepared and submitted to the appropriate body of the Govt.
1- Physical contact and advances
This shameful incident of Gang rape is not an isolated example. There are sexual abuses in the primary schools. Many incidents are suppressed for many social reasons. Many are reported and many go unreported. It is assumed the sexual abuses are increasing in menacing scale. One of the reasons is the advertisements in TV and print media, and encouragement of pornography and obscenity by the market forces in the name of globalization and liberalization. It is found that where ever there is more power of mark in the hand of the lectures the girls are the victim of sexual abuses. There are many incidents through out the state. The M. Phil, Ph. D students are not spared.
The Role of BJP and Whither the moral police!
The BJP is conspicuously silent about this matter. They could not believe that just after the election, with the propaganda of vibrant Gujarat, Beti Bachao, Kanya Kelvani such type of sex scandal which was going on for years would come out such nakedly and that too from the high profiled Assembly Constituency of Patan, where Ms. Anandi behn Patel has been elected. To any Govt. such type of naked exposure is very embarrasing. But the BJP leaders are trying to save their faces giving stray comments here and there and are mainly engaged in damage control mission and are discouraging any kind of public or institutional protests. In Patan they are monitoring the teachers or professors joining the protest March. So many are scared to join the protest. The down playing of the matter has it's effect as days are passing.
The Sangha Parivar and it's outfits are absent from the scene. The Chief Minister who poses himself as the savior has avoided to visit Patan. The two ministers Raman Vora and Fakirbhai Waghela avoided to meet the people in Patan. Ms. Anandibehn also avoided to meet the people and was too afraid to face the wrath of the people, who cannot digest that such a heinous act could happen in place like Patan ' the ancient capital of Gujarat.
Thanks to media trial of this gang rape. Almost all the dailies are giving excellent report and society too responded properly. The Media coverage of Patan gave many to come out openly and several cases of sexual abuses in educational institutions were reported in a short time. But there is an all out attempt by the ruling parties to underplay the matter through various means. Most of the people are now scared to be identified with the protest particularly in Patan and else where. They feel they are watched and monitored. The ordinary women and people are very much annoyed and want severe punishment to the rapists.
Let us Check the Epidemic of Rape
The social and cultural movement based on moral and ethics will bring all section of the people to protest this gang rape such that the people can dictate over the Govt. So it is high time to bring all section of people to one platform of action and bring justice to the victim and unearth all the abuses and stop them and develop a public watchdog system in the state.
During the public protests in the state these demands have been raised.
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