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Opinion: The Delhi Police’s Inaction Is A Matter Of Shame For The Entire Nation

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When the American President Donald Trump was hailing India’s diversity, tolerance, peace and democracy in Ahmedabad upon his arrival to India, Delhi was engulfed in the communal violence. The capital’s northeast part was burning, just 10 to 15 kilometres away from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hosting Trump at a gala event in Delhi.

After 70 hours of rampage in Delhi, PM Modi finally opened his eyes and urged for peace and harmony, but by then, hundreds of homes and shops were torched, hundreds of vehicles were vandalised and several religious sites were set on fire. It has left more than 40 people dead, including police personnel and an IB officer.

It is hard to believe but plenty evidence is available online which shows that Delhi Police not only failed to prevent the violence, but was actually roaming around with the mobs. In chilling videos, the Delhi Police can be seen pelting stones with the rioters, breaking street cameras and provoking violence in the city.

In another video, a rioter, while hurling abuses and chanting “Jai Shree Ram,” can be seen and heard saying, “police prashashan zindabad!” (long live the rule of the police) while the police can be clearly seen hanging around.

It is clear that some politicians and political parties are responsible behind this massacre, but how will we explain to our future generations that when the city was burning and people were dying, the cops were waiting to take action against predators? That when the city was under control by a number of rival mobs, the police stood idly and let the city wilfully burn?

Over the past two months, the way Delhi Police have been dealing with CAA protesters is shameful for the entire police fraternity and questions must be raised against their idle behaviour. We all have seen how Delhi cops entered Jamia Millia Islamia’s university library and brutally beat up whoever came in their path.

Probably, the country has witnessed for the first time – a group of masked policemen firing tear-gas shells inside a university library, breaking the CCTV cameras and destroying the library. Then, yet another dark side of the Delhi Police, who report to the Home Minister Amit Shah, which allowed a masked mob inside one of India’s most reputed campuses – JNU – to brutalise the students.

Delhi has seen countless instances of violence, but the ghost of 1984’s anti-Sikh riots still haunts this city, where around 3000 people were butchered in three days and a man who monitored the violence and had said, “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes,” later became the Prime Minister of India. Many perpetrators of the 1984 genocide enjoyed political patronage for years. But ironically, many are still waiting for justice to be served and many relive the horror each day.

Like the 1984 riots, the Delhi Police was either helpless or present only for backing the mobsters in the recent violence. The police seemed paralysed when BJP leaders like Anurag Thakur and Pravesh Verma were deteriorating the national capital’s atmosphere by their hate speeches just a few days before the violence. The police were mute and turned a blind eye to a local BJP leader Kapil Mishra who added fuel to communal fire in the city.

Politicians have done their job and have gone back to their luxurious life, the police have also done their job – whatever orders they were asked to follow. But people have died, schools and mosques have been set ablaze, shops have been looted by mobs. This horrifying mayhem will be remembered in the capital’s painful memories forever.

After watching all of this, dear Delhi Police, your role will never be forgiven. Your badges are no more a symbol of your duty, your integrity has been dead in both public and private life, your courage now looks more like a signal of fear and danger, your responsibility for public safety is no longer accountable to your office, and your inaction in the violence was shameful for the entire police community.

Featured image source: PTI.
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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.

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.

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.

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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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