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What You Need To Know Before Sharing The ‘UP Molestation Video’ Story

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Uttar Pradesh police arrested three more accused on May 29 after a video of sexual harassment and assault from a village in Rampur district went viral. While the search for the survivors, for recording their statement, is still on, police have told YKA that it was the special circumstances surrounding  this video that have made these arrests possible. In fact, that the arrests were facilitated by a video circulating on social media, again highlights a growing concern regarding such videos.

When The Police Can’t Act

“You will see that a lot of videos go viral on social media, but there are very few videos where action is taken, where the culprit is nabbed,” Vipin Tada, Superintendent of Police, Rampur, told YKA. He explained that since it was a ‘heinous’ crime, and purportedly going viral in a particular area of the district, the police decided to investigate whether it took place in their district.

This is, however, not always the case. In early 2015, activist Sunitha Krishnan from the anti-trafficking NGO Prajwala had to file a petition with the Supreme Court. The reason? Police didn’t take any action when she alerted them about rape videos circulating on the internet.

In December last year, Krishnan told YKA that it is the vast jurisdiction in which the videos are circulated makes police abdicate their responsibility. “The crime happens in one place, the video lands in somebody’s hand in another part of the country. As a concerned citizen, I cannot file a case although I see the crime. It’s there on my phone but I can’t file a case because the jurisdiction is different,” she said.

A similar incident came to light in Rajasthan recently. YKA reported on May 25 that a viral video led to initiation of action against people assaulting a group of 3-4 Sikh men over a month after the alleged assault. Police officials at the very top had to ask officials in every district to find where the incident could have possibly taken place. Fortunately here, the registration plates on the vehicles seen in the video helped verify it.

In the Rampur case, action was taken, it seems, because it was a police personnel himself who filed the First Information Report. “A Sub-Inspector Sunder Ram was on patrol. A person informed him (about the video). The person did not reveal their name or address, but they told him that this video is going viral,” a police official at the Tanda police station, where the FIR was registered, told YKA. Ram himself filed the FIR, the official said.

“We got to know from Tanda police station, but we weren’t able to establish identities then,” Tada told YKA. He said that 4 teams comprising of personnel from all police stations were then formed to enquire into the origin of the video. “The video was sent to all four teams. Then we learnt that the video was made in Tanda. We zeroed in on the village and on enquiry we found about the men,” he explained.


Since the police took cognisance of the video, five of the 14 alleged accused have been arrested. The police have learnt that the alleged crime took place on May 22 in Kuwakhera village of the district.

Rape Videos Are Being Sold In Western UP

Multiple reports last year highlighted that sale of rape videos in western Uttar Pradesh is a flourishing trade, although the size of the trade remains unknown. A journalist who reported on the videos told YKA in December last year that men might shoot such videos for blackmail after they have committed the crime.

Krishan’s petition before the Supreme Court seeks to curb the circulation of such videos. The petition also asked for a central agency that could act on such videos without being limited by jurisdiction.

According to submissions made by the union government before the court, it granted in principle approval for setting up three units for curbing cyber crime and crime against women in September 2015. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs told the parliament this year that the units are yet to become operational.

Cyber Crimes Against Women

Since 2014, when the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) started comprehensive collection of cyber crime data, crimes against women have been a large part of such crimes. ‘Insult to Modesty of Women’ and ‘Sexual Exploitation’ were the 3rd (5.2%) and 4th largest (5.1%) categories respectively of motive behind cyber crimes in 2015 and the 2nd (6.2%) and 4th (3.7%) largest categories in 2014. The NCRB collects data on 20 such motives.

Although ‘blackmailing’ may not necessarily be a crime against women, increasing number of reported incidents where blackmailing was a motive behind a cyber crime might be a cause of worry. Reported cases under each motive have increased in the past two years.

The apex court has now brought internet giants such as Facebook and WhatsApp too to the table for solving the problem. The report of the committee, comprising of representatives from these companies, is however yet to be made public.

Image source: YouTube
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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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna 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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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