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Unruly Lawyers Attack Kanhaiya And Journalists (Again) And The Police Does Nothing (Again)

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By Abhimanyu Singh for Youth Ki Awaaz:

A lawyer shouts slogans during a protest outside the Patiala House court in New Delhi, India. February 17, 2016. Fighting broke out on Wednesday around Delhi's Patiala House court hearing a case against a Jawaharlal Nehru University student union leader accused of sedition, a charge that has sparked protests across university campuses and criticism the government was curtailing free speech. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee - RTX27CD1
Image source: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

It was open season for violence at the Patiala House Court premises on 17th Feb, the second time Kanhaiya Kumar was being presented in court, regardless of the events that transpired barely a day ago at the same venue, putting the role of the police under spotlight.

Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU president was produced in Court number four. He was represented by eminent lawyer Vrinda Grover, among others. However, even before he made an appearance in the court, he was roughed up by a group of lawyers. Shahab Ahmad, a lawyer who was present inside when the incident occurred, told me that the police simply stood by and did nothing to save him from being assaulted. Shahab added that the lawyers started to chant slogans against a Muslim accused being presented in another case, as well.

A reporter from Firstpost was also roughed up when he tried to click pictures of the lawyers indulging in violence – they fought with some of their own colleagues too, who were opposed to their actions – and the police reportedly stood by in his case also.

At least a couple of AISF activists were also roughed up by the same gang of lawyers, allegedly led by an advocate called Vikram Chauhan who was present on Monday as well when journalists and JNU students and faculty members were roughed up. The AISF activists had come from Sonepat in support of Kumar who also hails from the same organisation. “I was beaten up by the advocates who alleged that I was a Pakistan supporter. I begged with folded hands and asked them, please tell me my fault but they just kept beating me up,” said Pramod, one of the activists who was beaten up. He added that the police kept watching and did not help him.

It is learnt that the matter of Kanhaiya’s security was discussed in the Court. Along with that, the police informed the Court that they had electronic evidence against Kanhaiya. The defence team has sought a copy of the said evidence. But the latest news coming in, as reported by The Hindu is that they might have to drop the sedition charges due to lack of evidence.

Kanhaiya also identified one of the lawyers who had assaulted him.

Profiling of JNU students continued at the Court premises and I was also asked by a couple of television reporters if I was from the university. TV channels have come under heavy criticism lately for running a vicious campaign against JNU.

I also spoke to a faculty member from JNU who was present outside the Court premises. He told me that the recent events showed that fascism had arrived in the country as anyone could be branded anti-national and thrashed. He added that by allowing the police to enter the campus and raid hostels, the Vice-Chancellor had made his role suspect in the eyes of JNU’s academic community.

The Court has sent Kanhaiya to judicial custody for two weeks, till March 2. Till four in the evening, he remained at the Court premises, getting medical treatment. As reported by The Indian Express, he was then taken to Tihar Jail, even as some lawyers waited at two court gates to attack him, to prevent which, Kanhaiya was dressed up in riot gear.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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