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Assam Mob Lynching: What We Need To Do Next

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Like humanity is the naturally adorned attire of humans regardless of any community or creed; inhumanity too follows the same trend regardless of community, creed or racial distribution. In the era of scientific marvels, where humans are capable of finding the solution to every fact through rigorous research and exploration and the earth has been a land of deep and widespread discoveries, how inhumanity can put an end to the fame the world has earned through centuries is insane to see and believe. Mob lynching in the name of superstition, religious sentiments etc. are some of the forms of the naturally adored characteristic of some humans with inhumanity in their blood and who are meant to defame the world of humans.

How mother Assam’s glory of rich heritage with hundreds of community and cultural niche is facing a grotesque shaking has recently been well observed by every human rooted to this region or in the country at large. In international purview too, the brutal killing of Nilotpal Das and Abhijit Nath in the Dokmoka region of Karbi Anglong district of Assam has created a significant scene through mass protests in countries like Russia.

But, the root of such evils on earth should be well understood. It is not any specific land, where inhumanity lives; it is the whole world, where such notoriety exists. Superstition, known as one of the reasons for the brutal killing, thus, has come to the focus of everyone’s eyes. Brutal killing due to superstition, witchcraft, communal sentiments, religion etc. have become so abundant in the world today that we are in dire need of stopping such waves from attacking us.

If an analysis is made, one very common thing comes to the notice, which is the spread of rumours by digital communication. Although the percentage of internet penetration in India has been significantly less compared to other countries of the world, what we have is more than enough to create any major or minor social havoc through mismanaged communication. Therefore, the government should take necessary action to wash off digital illiteracy.

Another important feature to bring positivity to a land where superstition exists is the strengthening of the administrative and policing framework. Hilly areas, riverine shores, remote areas etc. with sparsely distributed population need a better understanding by the administration. Most of the times, it is believed that due to lack of social interaction between police, administration and local people, such incidents of mob lynching get created. Through such pathetic condition of humans, where freedom in the movement in our own motherland has become scary, our administrative and policing framework should learn how unsuccessful they are in safeguarding the state and should remember that the necessary action needs to be taken.

Apart from administrative support, some independent initiatives the educational institutions, societies, NGOs, clubs etc. should be taken, where regular hosting of public meetings in the areas prone to superstition is of utmost need. The Gaonburha, leaders of the Gram Panchayat, eminent figures etc. should be well involved in the journey, where appeals should be made in the cultural, artistic, literary forms.

Another ground shaking incident of inhumanity happened in the district of Karbi Anglong in the years 2013, where a young boy called Jhankar Saikia was brutally killed in the Diphu town. It is worrisome to believe that the culprits involved in the said incident have not yet been punished and the process of justice is being delayed. Delaying the justice process not only gives a scope to increase of such incidents involved in inhumanity but also stands as a threat to the system called ‘law’.

Communal hegemony is another very striking feature which happens after the mob lynching that the administration, social structure, institutions should take to nullify. It has come to the notice that natives of Karbi Anglong district spread across various corners of Assam are under the threat of some social culprits whose prime aim is to create a notorious fame in the socio-political framework of Assam. Defaming the entire community for the few being convicted of mob lynching is another worrisome action of inhumanity, which has every possibility to abrade off the little breathe we have to inhale in the world of humans.

Peaceful mass protests in the appeal of justice for the departed souls have a great role to play in the said incident. It is the duty of artists, writers, cultural activists and other social heroes of all fields to assemble on one common ground in search of justice. Not only that, welfare organizations of the state should be so active in this ground that they are able to pressurize the system to come out with a strict judgment. And the appeal should be sustainable and ground shaking. Hope the concerned authorities hear our voices and wash off inhumanity by giving justice to the departed souls.

Created by Aniket Verma

How do you see Vigilante killings by mob in India?

The writer is an MTech student of Assam Engineering College, Guwahati.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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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