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Do We Have No Faith In Our Justice System Or Are We Just Blood-Thirsty?

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India is on a lynching spree these days. News of horrendous killings by violent mobs seems to be occupying more space on our national channels and dailies than perhaps Prime Minister’s foreign visits or the widely anticipated 2018 Football World Cup in Russia. Week after week, images and videos of mindless murders have been surfacing from across the country, thereby confirming the belief that intolerance is undoubtedly ingrained in the Indian Society.

While the list of the so-called vigilante killings is long and provide enough room for a one-by-one detailed analysis, the ones in Jharkhand and Assam recently have evoked maximum outrage on social media. The Jharkhand incident was another classic case of cow-vigilantism when two men were murdered on suspicion of stealing buffaloes. As per police, the men were caught ‘red-handed’ by the locals and were beaten to death. The family members of the victim have strongly refuted the allegations. The incident has clear communal connotations. Men seen with bovine or cattle with their distinguishable Muslim identities like skull caps and beard have been an easy prey for so-called cow protection groups.

But the incident in Assam presents a very disturbing picture. Two young men, Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath, who set out towards the picturesque Karbi Anglong district, would have never imagined in their worst nightmares that their love for nature would result in a grisly end to that to their lives. The two men were attacked by machetes after a rumour surfaced on WhatsApp accusing them of being “Child Abductors”. A chilling video clip of the lynching has emerged on social media. It showed Das pleading to the mob with folded hands: “Don’t kill me. Please don’t beat me. I am an Assamese. Please let me go.” But the unruly mob in a blatant display of depravity, tore off their bodies with the weapons in hand. A hoax shared between misguided people resulted in the end of two innocent lives. This particular incident is not an aberration.

Similar killings have been reported from other areas in Assam accusing the victims as sorcerers and cannibals over WhatsApp. And this is where social media has shown one of its ugliest faces to the civilization. Of late, it has become a factory churning out one fake news after another. WhatsApp especially is the hub of all misinformation doing rounds in India. With an ever-expanding smartphone market touching nearly 300 million and a cut-throat competition in the telecom sector resulting in cheap internet like never before, the threat of Whatsapp in India couldn’t have been more profound. “What we are witnessing is mass hysteria. Social media videos and messages are encouraging mobs to target innocent people,” Prakash Singh, a former police official said. “Social media is fueling panic and anarchy in the country. The need right now is to form special security units for cyber monitoring to prevent rumours,” added Singh.

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How do you see Vigilante killings by mob in India?
However, the threat is not only from technology. The spate of lynchings accentuates more thing than one. It can be a complete breakdown of law and order, diminishing faith in institutions known for delivering justice and above all, growing intolerance.  While the Jharkhand lynching was orchestrated by communal bigots, the one in Assam is equally sickening if not more. As evident from the video where Nilotpal is seen begging for his life and his heartwrenching reiterations that he is an Assamese highlights the outsider problem in that area. The malicious message which was circulated through WhatsApp, termed “Biharis” as child lifters. A significant number of  Biharis have settled down in Assam as labourers and workers. A rapid influx has thus led to a glaring demographic tension between ‘outsiders’ and the original inhabitants. The fact that Nilotpal and Abhijeet were Assamese and the consequences which they met, sends shivers down the body imagining the fate of a non-Assamese person in that situation.

Another aspect is the vigilante nature of such attacks. Suspicion and doubts are very much part of human nature and are unavoidable. But has our faith in institutions shrunk so much that we don’t bother taking the legal or constitutional routes to avail justice? Or is it the toxic nature of the hate sown in our hearts that makes us impatient and transforms us into a blood-thirsty animal?

India is a democracy but is slowly turning into a mobocracy. The rise of fake news, coupled with increasing hate towards the human clan has meant that all disputes are now being settled on the streets with a good amount of blood being spilt in the process. But it sets a dangerous precedent for the future. Innocent lives will be getting lost unless the system reins in rioters and anti-social elements who are hell-bent on establishing their draconian justice-system.


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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.

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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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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 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.”

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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.

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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, 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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