UN Women India and TikTok UNiTE to Break the Silence, End Violence

~UN Women’s campaign called #KaunsiBadiBaatHai aims to mobilize the community against acts of violence towards women~

The UN Women India’s official account on TikTok has also released a series of official videos of India  volunteers and staff.

UN Women India, United Nations entity committed to gender equality and empowerment of women has collaborated with TikTok the world’s leading destination for short form video content, on their campaign called #KaunsiBadiBaatHai. The campaign aims to raise awareness and inspire action towards making the world free from violence against women. This initiative is a part of the global 16 Days of Activism focused on ending gender based violence. The ‘Orange The World’ campaign, that kicked off on November 25th, observed as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and will continue till the International Day of Human Rights on December 10.

TikTok will run the hashtag #KaunsiBadiBaatHai on the platform for 16 days with an objective to mobilize users from across the country. The in-app campaign aims to encourage users to show their support by undertaking the #KaunsiBadiBaatHai “Rap for Change” challenge and sporting shades of orange, in their videos. The colour orange is globally recognised as the colour for the elimination of violence against women and symbolises a world that is free of all acts of violence against women. 

The campaign rap called Kaunsi Badi Baat Hai that users can use as soundtrack for their videos is,  written and rapped by Delhi based 16 year old Abbas Ali from  Slam Out Loud and composed by Aditya Shekhawat, highlight instances of violence against women and questions existing negative socio-cultural norms.

Speaking about the collaboration, Nishtha SatyamDeputy Country Representative, UN Women India said, “UN Women is committed to making spaces safe for women and young girls, for violence against women and young girls has real consequences and costs. Through our proud partnership with TikTok for this campaign, we hope to raise awareness and unite users to break the silence around violence.” 

Nitin Saluja, Director, Public Policy, TikTok India said, “ At TikTok our mission is to inspire and enrich people’s lives and give them an outlet to express themselves in a way that adds value to the community. We are proud to collaborate with UN Women India for this campaign as their community partners and believe that the highly engaged community on TikTok has the potential to contribute towards a change in society and spread the message of a violence free-world.”

To know more about this campaign, follow UN Women India on TikTok (@unwomenindia). Use the hashtag #KaunsiBadiBaatHai and join the movement for ending violence against women.


Bulandshahr violence: Heroes” welcome for accused out on bail

In a shocking development, seven persons accused of killing a police inspector in cow slaughter violence in Bulandshahr last year, were given a hero”s welcome by their supporters when they came out on bail.

As soon as they stepped out of Bulandshahr Jail on Saturday night, the seven accused were garlanded and greeted with slogans of ”Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and ”Vande Mataram”. Later, the supporters also threw a “welcome party” in “honour” of the seven men.

The matter came to light after a video of the ”party” was shared on the social media on Sunday night.

Shikhar Agarwal, a member of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and Jitendra Malik, an Army personnel were among the seven accused released on bail.

They are accused in a case of mob violence that took place on December 3 after a cow carcass was found in a sugarcane field near Mahav village of Siyana in Bulandshahr.

Subodh Kumar Singh, the station house officer of Siyana, and local youth, Sumit Kumar, were killed in the violence and Chingrawati police picket was set on fire.

Soon after the violence, police booked 27 named and more than 60 unnamed in the violence under more than a dozen IPC sections including 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity), 333 (grievous hurt to public servant), 124 A (sedition) etc.

However, the release of the seven accused belies the local police” claim that they had prepared a ”watertight” case against them.

Senior Superintendent of Police of Bulandshahr Santosh Kumar Singh said those released were not facing stringent sections and were booked for rioting and not murder.

“A total of 10 people have been granted bail out of which seven were released. The accused granted bail were booked for rioting. None of the accused booked for murder has been granted bail,” he said.

Malik, an Army man from 22 Rashtriya Rifles and posted in Sopore, Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (UP STF) on December 9 after his name came up as the main conspirator who killed inspector Subodh Kumar Singh. But, he was not chargesheeted for the murder.

“We had approached the High Court to seek relief following which seven accused were granted bail. Jitendra Malik has also reported to the Army base in Meerut”s Babugarh area after his release,” said Sanjay Sharma, Malik”s advocate.

BJYM leader Agarwal was arrested in January this year from Hapur district after he remained absconding for over a month.

Support among sections for people accused of killing or inciting violence is not new. In 2017, Shambhu Lal Raigar, a marble trader, who was accused of killing a Muslim labourer in Rajasthan and also of filming the brutal act, became an instant celebratory of sorts among a section of people.

The police had to freeze his bank account after he received “donations” to the tune of Rs 3 lakh from around 516 “sympathisers” from across the country.



Violence erupts in Bengal’s Bhatpara on Thursday, one dead

 A man was killed as violence erupted in North 24 Parganas district’s Bhatpara on Thursday following which police opened fire and deployed the Rapid Action Force amid the ongoing post-poll violence in West Bengal.

BJP MP Arjun Singh claimed that the victim was shot in the head, while six others also received bullet injuries.

None of the police officers including Barrackpore Police Commissioner Tanmay Roychowdhury could be contacted by IANS despite repeated efforts.

Some of the injured are reportedly in a very critical condition.

“My husband went out of the house on hearing about a disruption. He was hit by a bullet on his head,” the victim’s wife said.

On Thursday a new police station was to be inaugurated as per a directive of the state government.

Prior the this, violence broke out in the area as miscreants resorted to bombings and also fired at each other. The police had to open fire and use tear gas to control the situation.

Police have recovered some arms and crude bombs from the area.

Singh blamed the local police and officers of the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate for the violence.

“Since I am in Delhi, the police has allowed some Trinamool activists to do all this. They are mute witness to looting and violence over the last three days. They are giving free hand to them (Trinamool activists) and the total game-plan has been hatched by the police. Seven people have been shot and the deceased was shot in his head,” Singh said.

On the other hand, Trinamool leader Madan Mitra pointed out that Bhatpara has been witnessing violence for over a month.

“It is sad that Arjun Singh said that the person died after being shot by the police while the officers have said that they fired the bullets in the air,” Mitra said.

“BJP is surrounded by the politics of violence. Even if the administration tries to control the situation, they are targeting those officers who are risking their lives to restore peace in the area.”



Governor meets Modi, Shah amid Bengal violence

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah amid the violence in the state following the Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to the media after a 20-minute meeting with Shah, the Governor said he informed the Minister about the situation in the state where about a dozen supporters of the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress have died in street violence in recent days.

Tripathi declined to say anything more.



Over 65% turnout in Bengal amid sporadic violence

Over 65 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the three northern West Bengal constituencies in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, amid several incidents of violence including an attack on a CPI-M candidate and the smashing of an EVM.

Till 3 p.m., the overall polling percentage was 65.43, with Raiganj recording 61.84, Jalpaiguri 71.32 and Darjeeling 63.14 per cent turnout, an Election Commission official said in Kolkata.

Voting across 5,390 polling stations began at 7 a.m. and will end at 6 p.m.

Much of the violence was reported from Chopra in Darjeeling constituency, where voters put up a road blockade demanding that CRPF personnel be deployed in all polling stations to ensure their security.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won the Darjeeling seat in 2009 and 2014.

The villagers complained of intimidation by the ruling Trinamool Congress-backed goons and refused to cast their votes under the supervision of state police personnel, accusing them of being partisan.

As the BJP and Trinamool activists clashed with stones and bombs, the Rapid Action Force personnel lobbed tear gas shells to control the situation.

The workers of the two parties also clashed inside the polling booth at Chopra’s Kotgach, where the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was broken into pieces.

“All possible measures have been taken in Chopra and the situation is now under control. Central forces have also been deployed in concerned polling booths. Currently, polling process is on,” an official said.

The villagers, standing in the queue, said the situation has become “normal” after the deployment of the central forces.

The vehicle of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP from Raiganj Mohammad Salim, who is seeking re-election, was damaged at Islampur when he visited the area on receiving reports of booth-capturing. Salim alleged that the police were “mute spectators” during the attack.

Special Police observer for West Bengal, Vivek Dube, however described the polling as “more or less” peaceful notwithstanding “small incidents”.

Ajay V. Nayak, the special observer appointed by the Election Commission, virtually echoed Dube.

“So far the elections have been fair and peaceful,” Nayak told reporters.

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya lodged a complaint before the Commission alleging violence in many polling stations where the central forces were not deployed.

“Unfortunately, several incidents of violence have been reported in three constituencies. Central forces were deployed mostly in urban areas while state police personnel were deployed in many sensitive areas,” he told reporters at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer.

State BJP President Dilip Ghosh also accused the Commission of “not taking requisite security measures in advance” in areas like Chopra and Dhupguri which had seen poll violence earlier also.

Tea garden workers were among those who turned out in strength in the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri constituencies, while Muslim community members were seen in good numbers at the prestigious Raiganj seat in the early hours.

The polling process was disrupted in a few booths in Jalpaiguri due to faulty EVMs.

A total of 49,32,346 eligible voters — 25,22,887 men, 24,09,372 women and 87 ‘other’ category — will vote for 42 candidates in this phase.

In 2014, the Trinamool Congress had won Jalpaiguri, the CPI-M bagged Raiganj while the BJP secured Darjeeling.

The star constituency is Raiganj in North Dinajpur district where Salim is taking on former Union Minister and Congress nominee Deepa Dasmunsi, BJP state General Secretary Debasree Chaudhuri and Trinamool candidate Kanaia Lal Agarwal. Ten other candidates, including five Independents, are also in the fray.

In Darjeeling, BJP’s Raju Singh Bisht is taking on Trinamool’s Amar Singh Rai, Saman Pathak of the CPI-M and Congress’ Sankar Malakar. There are also seven candidates from other registered parties and five Independents.

The Trinamool has re-nominated its sitting MP Bijoy Chandra Barman in Jalpaiguri, where the BJP ticket has gone to a medico Jayanta Kumar Ray, the Congress has fielded tea workers’ leader Mani Kumar Darnal and the CPI-M Bhagirath Chandra Roy.

The subsequent phases of polling will be held on April 23, 29 and May 6, 12 and 19. Polling for the Cooch Behar and Alipurduar constituencies took place in the first phase on April 11.

The vote count is on May 23.



‘Modi trying to incite communal violence for votes’

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to incite communal violence to win votes.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of an election gathering in Anantnag district, Mehbooba said: “He is trying to incite communal violence to win votes. They saw defeat coming their way in the first phase and they are now creating insecurity everywhere.

“The situation they have created suggests that they might stage another Balakot like attack on Pakistan to get votes.”

In the gathering, she also demanded a probe into the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.




66% turnout in Arunachal, stray violence reported on Thursday

An estimated 66 per cent voters on Thursday exercised their franchise in elections to the 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly and the state’s two Lok Sabha seats.

Polling was peaceful, save stray incidents of violence. Three persons were seriously injured when supporters of two rival parties clashed outside a polling booth in Pipsorang in the Tali Assembly constituency in Kurung Kumey district, an election official said.

Police officials said the injured were taken to hospital by a helicopter.

Polling official Tenak Socia died of a stroke at Laju polling booth of Khonsa West assembly in Tirap district, officials said.

“The voting percentage recorded so far is 66 per cent. We are expecting that the voting percentage may touch 70 pe rcent as we are yet to received the final figures from all the districts,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer Kangki Darang said.

“There are many polling stations where it take one or two days to reach the district headquarters while some of the polling officials have to be airlifted since they are deployed in inaccessible areas,” he said.

Darang also said that polling was not conducted in around 15 polling stations due defective EVMS which couldn’t be replaced in time besides other reasons.

There are 7,98,249 voters in the state and 2,202 polling stations.

Arunachal Pradesh is undergoing simultaneous polls.

For the two Lok Sabha seats, 12 candidates are in the fray, and for 57 of the 60 Assembly seats, 181 are in the race. Three BJP candidates — Phurpa Tsering from Dirang, Taba Tedir from Yachuli and Kento Jini from Along East — won elections unopposed after either other contestants withdrew or their candidature was rejected.

The ruling BJP contestes all 60 seats and the Congress 46. The National People’s Party has fielded 30 candidates, the Janata Dal-United 15 and the Janata Dal-Secular 12.

In the Lok Sabha polls, Union Minister Kiren Rijju, seeking re-election for the third time from Arunachal West, faced former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki of the Congress, National People Party’s Khyoda Apik and Jarjum Ete of the JD-S.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu cast his vote at the Lemberdung polling booth in Tawang district, bordering China.



Nearly 81% turnout in Bengal, stray violence mars polls

The endangered Toto tribals, tea garden workers and erstwhile enclave dwellers turned up in large numbers as voting continued beyond the 6 p.m. deadline in two northern West Bengal Lok Sabha seats on Thursday amid reports of sporadic violence, EVM glitches and allegations of electoral malpractices.

As per the latest figures given by the Election Commission, of the over 34 lakh voters in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar constituencies, an average of 80.85 per cent cast their vote till 5 p.m.

While the polling percentage for Alipurduar was 81.58 per cent, Cooch Behar recorded a turnout of 80.11 per cent, an Election Commission official told IANS.

Even as BJP’s Cooch Behar candidate Nisith Pramanik sat on a ‘dharna’ (sit-in) demanding repoll in all the booths not manned by the central paramilitary forces, lots of voters waited patiently outside the polling stations, even two hours after the scheduled close.

Members of the Toto tribe, which live in isolation in the small enclave of Totopara in Madarihat of Alipurduar district, came out in large numbers to exercise their rights. Around 1,600 Totos are registered as voters.

Enthusiasm also brimmed over in the 51 erstwhile Bangladeshi enclaves in Cooch Behar, which saw a large turnout at the polling booths. The dwellers were voting for the first time to elect the government at the centre.

Braving the heat, about 12,000 voters from the erstwhile enclaves queued up since morning to cast their vote though they aired their grievances.

With organised tea garden workers and their dependents forming a sizeable chunk of the voters in Cooch Behar and about 50 per cent of the electorate in Alipurduar, there were scenes of celebration in the gardens, as the pluckers of the two leaves and a bud spontaneously took part in the democratic process since early morning.

In Kolkata, state Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Arif said polling was “peaceful” save a “few skirmishes”.

A police case has been initiated against five accused persons after a complaint of car vandalism in a polling station in Cooch Behar’s Mathabhanga was registered. An incident of EVM and VVPAT damage was also reported at a polling station in Dinhata.

The voting process in a number of polling stations in Cooch Behar was temporarily disrupted after EVMs stopped functioning. Trinamool Congress district chief and North Bengal Affairs Minister Rabindranath Ghosh alleged a conspiracy.

Bulk of the allegations and incidents of violence were reported from Cooch Behar, particularly under the Dinhata Assembly segment.

Trinamool and BJP workers clashed at Dinhata’s Rosmonda Primary School booth, following allegations that the Trinamool workers were beating up and driving away the voters.

In Mathabahnaga, alleged Trinamool-backed miscreants heckled Forward Bloc candidate Gobinda Roy and smashed the windshield of his vehicle after he arrived at the booth following allegations of false voting.

Ghosh also accused the central forces of interfering in the voting process by entering the polling premises even though they were not authorised.

On the other hand, the BJP’s Pramanik demanded a repoll in all the booths which were not manned by the central forces and accused the Trinamool of “rigging” 350 polling stations.

Delegation of Left parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party approached the Election Commission late Thursday with complaints of violence and demanded a repoll.

“We demand that wherever the poll was conducted with state armed police in Cooch Behar, there should be a repoll. There were as many as 170 booths where there were disturbances,” Forward Bloc’s state committee Secretary Naren Chatterjee told reporters.

Congress Rajya Sabha member Pradip Bhattacharya complained that in nearly 10 polling booths of Coochbehar’s Dinhata, the party’s polling agents were not allowed to enter.

“For peaceful elections in West Bengal all booths should be manned by central forces,” he said.

A BJP delegation led by its state Vice President Jay Prakash Majumdar sought repolling in a large number of polling stations.



BJP seeks Mehbooba Mufti’s arrest for violence call

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday demanded the arrest of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on charges of instigating people to break the law.

Speaking to reporters here, BJP spokesman Sunil Sethi said: “A FIR should have been registered against Mehbooba Mufti for her statement instigating public to defy vehicular ban on (Srinagar-Jammu) highway on Wednesdays and Sundays.”

The spokesman said politics in the state had touched its lowest ebb.

“Politicians are now trying to get votes by asking people to break the law. The order to allow only security forces to move on the national highway is a well thought decision which was taken to avoid situations like the Pulwama terror attack,” the spokesman said.



Jana Sena candidate arrested for damaging EVM

A Jana Sena Party candidate in Andhra Pradesh was arrested after he damaged an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) on Thursday as polling for the 25 Lok Sabha seats and 175-member Assembly was underway in the state.

Madhusudan Gupta threw the EVM on the floor at a polling station in the Guntakal Assembly constituency of Anantapur district, the police said.

Gupta, who had come to cast his vote at the polling station in Gutti, was angry with the polling staff over names of Assembly and Parliament constituencies not being displayed properly.

He lifted the EVM and threw it on the floor. The machine was damaged in the incident. Gupta was immediately arrested after the incident, the police added.



Violence as 28-year-old man dies in police custody in Srinagar

A 28-year-old man belonging to Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district died in police custody in Srinagar, triggering a spontaneous shutdown and street clashes in Awantipora town.

As news reached Awantipora that Rizwan Asad Pandit, 28, a private school teacher, had died in police custody, clashes started between the security forces and stone-pelting youths.

All shops and other businesses were hurriedly closed and traffic also went off the roads in the town.

As a precaution, all exams scheduled for Tuesday in the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) at Awantipora were postponed.

Mobile Internet services were suspended in Awantipora and adjoining areas.

Authorities rushed reinforcements of security forces to Awantipora to maintain law and order.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “I had hoped custodial deaths were a thing of our dark past. This is an unacceptable development and must be investigated in a transparent, time bound manner. Exemplary punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man.”

The National Conference leader added that with “midnight raids, crackdowns, rampant arrests, custodial murders, denial of democratic right to choose a government. Kashmir continues to suffer the fallout of the disastrous PDP-BJP alliance and from the Modi government’s muscular approach to J&K”.

Police said Rizwan was arrested three days back in connection with a militancy related case.

“He died during Monday night,” a police officer said, adding that a magisterial probe had been ordered.

“In addition, a departmental inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances that led to the death,” the officer said.



Zero tolerance on violence against women; Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that there should be zero tolerance on violence against women in the country, adding that the Women Reservation Bill will be passed in Parliament if Congress comes to power in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

While addressing a women’s convention on the occasion of International Women’s Day in Jeypore city, Gandhi also admired the “fighting spirit” of women and urged people to recommit themselves to break barriers that hinder the path to equality.

“Fight for your space and don’t consider yourself less than anyone,” he said.

He also said that while around eight women are getting raped every day, only seven victims are getting justice per year.

“If Congress forms the government in Odisha, girls will get free education,” he added.

The Congress president is slated to address a public meeting in the city later in the day.