BBC News – Child sex crime: Does India have a growing problem?

India feels like it is going through an upsurge of sexual violence against children, with reports dominating the news week after week and prompting public anger.

Divya Arya, BBC Delhi

New Delhi – India, 11 July 2018. In June, hundreds came out on to the streets in central India protesting over the rape of a seven-year-old girl.

Has there been a rise in the sexual abuse of children, defined as anyone under the age of 18, or is it that more cases are coming to light?

It’s partly down to more reporting by India’s rapidly expanding media sector, dominated by television and mobile news providers.

There have also been changes to the legal definition of rape and a new requirement that makes it mandatory for the police to record complaints of sexual assault.

The current debate was sparked in part by the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Indian-administered Kashmir earlier this year.

The trial of the men alleged to be involved started in April and led to a wider discussion about the prevalence of child sexual abuse.

India’s Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, said she was “deeply disturbed” by the Kashmir rape case and other cases that had come to light.

In acknowledgement of growing public concern, the Indian government introduced the death penalty for anyone convicted of raping a child younger than 12.

Legal definition change

Latest data released by the Indian government shows that child rapes reported to the authorities doubled over the five years from 2012 to 2016.

Prior to 2012, there was no single law specifically dealing with children as victims of sexual offences (and rape was strictly defined as penetration).

Some forms of sexual assault – which may be more common with child victims – were not included, while the police faced no sanction for refusing to register complaints by victims.

The landmark Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of November 2012 was India’s first comprehensive law to deal specifically with child sex abuse.

The number of reported cases of child rape rose by nearly 45% the next year.

The new act is gender neutral and includes various forms of sexual assault.

It also makes the failure to report or record a case of child sex abuse punishable with a jail term and fine.

“Doctors and police are not able to turn back complainants by dismissing their complaint as a ‘household matter’ any more as this can land them in jail,” says Audrey D’Mello of the Mumbai-based Majlis Legal Centre, that supports sex abuse victims.

She believes the requirement for the authorities to now register complaints has had a big role in increasing the number of reported cases.

The gang rape of 23-year-old female student Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi in December 2012 generated global interest in sexual violence in India, and brought the focus squarely on the role of the police in investigating such crimes.

Soon afterwards, the Indian government broadened the definition of sexual crimes against women by enacting the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 2013.

The effect was very apparent with a rise of more than 35% in reported cases of rape in 2013 compared with 2012.

Tip of the iceberg

There are those who believe that child sexual abuse may be much more prevalent than had been assumed.

In 2007, the Ministry of Women and Child Development conducted a survey that recorded responses from more than 17,000 children across 13 Indian states.

Just over half of the children surveyed (53.2%) reported that they had faced one or more forms of sexual abuse.

For the purposes of this study, various forms of sexual abuse were included, not only rape.

Kumar Shailabh, a lawyer at the Haq Centre of Child Rights, says the study highlights that there has been gross under-reporting of sexual abuse in India.

He also points out that the age of consent was increased from 16 to 18 years in the 2012 act, leading to the criminalising of consensual sexual relationships among young people between those ages.

Difficult legal process

Despite the increase in the number of reported cases of child rape and a comprehensive law, the conviction rate is unchanged since 2012 at 28.2%.

The 2012 act states that a trial in any case of child sex abuse should be completed within one year. But this is rarely followed as the legal process remains slow.

Where the offender is either a family member or someone known to the victim, the pressure to withdraw complaints can be immense.

Families are hesitant to bring complaints against their own members out of concern for “family honour”.

Ms D’Mello says: “Even when complaints are made, there is an unspoken effort to not prosecute the offender, the system works against the complainant and she is often proved to have made a false accusation.”

The Tribune – Legal relief for Pakistan Sikh officer ‘kicked’ out of house

Lahore court issues notice to police, PETPB officials

Varinder Singh, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 11 July 2011. The Lahore District Sessions Court on Wednesday issued a contempt notice to three police and PETPB officials for forcibly evicting Gulab Singh Shaheen, Pakistan’s first Sikh Traffic Police Officer, from his house.

Gulab Singh, his wife Paramjit Kaur and sons Gurpreet Singh, Harcharanpreet and Jagtar Singh had to spend the night under a tree in front of their house.

“The court has issued a contempt notice to SHO Iftikhar Ansari, PETPB Additional Secretary Tariq Wazir and Deputy Secretary Akram Zoya. The next date of hearing is July 13,” counsel Aseem Nawaz Gujjar told The Tribune over the phone.

Meanwhile, there has been an outpour of sympathy for Gulab Singh and his family. “The incident reflects Pakistan’s anti-minority stand,” said Jaiveer Shergill, who is on the AICC media panel. “First the attack on Sikhs in Afghanistan and now the humiliation of a Sikh officer in Pakistan. The incidents are disconcerting,” he said.

The American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) requested the governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh to protect land belonging to Sikh shrines in their countries.

Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan too demanded justice for Gulaab Singh. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the Pakistan government must rehabilitate Gulaab Singh immediately.

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Gent Godshuizenlaan – Gentbrugge P&R

07 June 2018

The L train to Lokeren

IC train to Leuven via Mechelen

Gent Godshuizenlaan
08 June 2018

STAM museum


Gentbrugge Park & Ride
E17 – St-Pieters-Dampoort
08 June 2018

Gentbrugge Park & Ride
E17 viaduct – train to Gent-Dampoort

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue – Jagdish Tytler withdraws plea from Delhi HC, says he will contest defamation charges in trial court

The trial court framed the charges in March 2015 on the basis of a complaint filed by senior advocate H S Phoolka.

New Delhi – India, 12 July 2018. Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on Thursday withdrew from the Delhi High Court his plea challenging the framing of charges against him in a defamation case, PTI reported.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who represents the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, had filed the case against Tytler for allegedly making statements harming his reputation.

Phoolka, in a complaint filed in 2006, had alleged that Tytler had levelled “false and derogatory” allegations against him during a television debate aired in September 2004.

A trial court framed the charges against Tytler on March 2, 2015. The same month, Tytler filed a plea in the High Court against the trial court’s order. The High Court then restrained the trial court from taking any decision in the matter.

The Congress leader’s counsel Arunabh Chowdhury, however, told Justice R K Gauba on Thursday that his client wants to contest the charges in the trial court, which is scheduled to hear the matter for three days starting 17 July.

Tytler’s counsel told the High Court during previous proceedings that the trial court had framed charges in the case on the basis of a video cassette obtained from the channel. The video cassette was not certified as required by Indian Evidence Act and various Supreme Court rulings, his counsel had argued.

However, Phoolka said that witnesses would be able to corroborate his allegations and this was enough to frame the charges against the veteran Congress leader.

Tytler is accused of having a role in the riots that took place in North Delhi’s Gurdwara Pulbangash, where three people were killed on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Hindu – Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan to file second counter-memorial in ICJ on July 17

It is in response to pleadings filed by India in the Hague based ICJ on April 17; Pakistan PM Nasirul Mulk was briefed about the case last week, “The Express Tribune” reported.

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 12 July 2018. Pakistan will file its second counter-memorial on July 17 in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the conviction of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April last year on charges of espionage and terrorism, a media report said on July 12.

On 23 January, the ICJ gave a timeline to both Pakistan and India for filing another round of memorials in the case.

Pakistan’s memorial will be in response to pleadings filed by India in the Hague based ICJ on April 17.

Top attorney Khawar Qureshi, who pleaded Pakistan’s case at the initial stage, briefed Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk about the case last week, The Express Tribune reported.

Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan and other senior officials also attended the meeting.

According to the daily, the counter-memorial has been drafted by Mr. Qureshi. After the submission of the second counter-memorial, the ICJ will fix the matter for hearing, which is likely to take place next year.

A senior lawyer, who has expertise in international litigations, told the daily that there was no chance of hearing the case this year.

Even the hearing of other matters has already been fixed until March/April next year. Therefore, the Jadhav case would be listed in summer next year, he added.

India moved the ICJ in May last year after Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death.

On May 18, a 10-member bench of the ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the adjudication of the case.

In its written pleadings, India had accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by not giving consular access to Jadhav. It argued that the convention did not say that such access would not be available to an individual arrested on espionage charge.

He was on a special mission, says Pakistan

In response, Pakistan, through its counter-memorial on December 13 last, told the ICJ that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 applied only to legitimate visitors and did not cover clandestine operations.

Pakistan said that “since India did not deny that Jadhav was travelling on a passport with an assumed Muslim name, they have no case to plead.” India did not explain how “a serving naval commander” was travelling under an assumed name.

“Since Jadhav was on active duty, it is obvious that he was a spy sent on a special mission.”Giving false identity to Jadhav, sending him for espionage and funding of terrorist activities were all some of the reasons that disentitled India from invoking the ICJ’s jurisdiction, Pakistan said.

India terms trial by military court farcical

India had been maintaining that the trial of Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan was “farcical”.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

India had approached the ICJ for “egregious” violation of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, by Pakistan in the case.