The graphic below is an invitation printed in the US Consulate General’s name (in Mumbai) giving information about an event the U.S. Consulate General has organized on the 16th of March in Mumbai. The event is a panel discussion on a topic titled “Women Security in India: Understanding your Legal and Civil Rights.”
As we have witnessed recently, the United States has taken upon itself to act as a teacher and adviser to India on issues ranging from secularism, women’s rights and freedom of expression. Some commentators opine that because India is a fast-growing economy, the US is giving friendly “tips” to India because it wants world’s largest democracy as its ally. Even if that ‘excuse’ is valid, then shouldn’t this teacher-adviser business be a two-way street?
Do we see the Indian government advising the USA on every day and burning issues in their society? Do we see the Indian government or media advising and/or castigating the US over all-too-frequent accounts of racism, mass shootings in schools and more importantly, does the Indian government show the widespread abuse of women there and the fact that the world’s only superpower is also the land which tops the rapes chart list? Here is some hard data about rape in the United States purely by way of academic interest to the the US Consulate in Mumbai:
– over 300,000 rape/sexual assault crimes reported in (officially-defined) “poor” households (and more than 63,000 in “low income”, 100,000 in “mid-income” and almost 60,000 in “high income” households);
– juvenile sex offenders (ages 6-17, of whom 93% were male) comprised more than ¼ of all sex offenders and more than 1/3rd of the sex offenders against minors;
– 5% of the juvenile sex offenders were younger than 9 years, and 16% younger than 12 years;
– the proportion of victims younger than the age of 12 was 59% for juvenile sex offenders, compared with 39% for adult sex offenders;
– offenders younger than age 12 were somewhat more likely than offenders age 12 or older to be female and to offend in multiple offender and multiple victim episodes;
– 30% of military women were raped while in service, 71% were sexually assaulted, and 90% were sexually harassed;
– some 90% of sexual assaults of military personnel while in service were never reported.
– of sexual assault victims within the defence services, 54% of women and 27% of men did not report sexual assault because they feared retaliation;
– 47% of women and 20% of men did not report because they had heard other victims had a negative experience after reporting;
– at least 140,000 prisoners had been raped while incarcerated.
– over 80,000 prisoners reported sexual victimization while incarcerated.
– approximately 26,000 women and men were sexually assaulted within the defence services;
– of these, only 3,374 cases were reported;
– rape was described as an epidemic in the defence services.
– the number of reported cases of sexual assault within the defence services rose to 5,061;
– of these, only 484 cases went to trial, and only 376 resulted in convictions;
– 90% of the assault victims were eventually involuntarily discharged;
– there were over 300,000 rape/sexual assault crimes within the country.
The US Consulate in Mumbai may also note this gem of wisdom from Rick Santorum who was a candidate in the Republican presidential field in 2012:
I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.
Based on these kinds of statements and the aforementioned statistics, the US Consulate in Mumbai can very well carry out such panel discussions on the abysmal treatment of women in its own country.
Does the Indian government show the widespread abuse of women there and the fact that the world’s only superpower is also the land which tops the rapes chart list?
But thankfully, as believers in democracy and following traditions of decency and non-interference in a sovereign nation’s internal affairs, the Government of India is decent enough to let the US administration take care of the shocking treatment of women and rapes in its country.
Now we can look at the panelists invited to this so-called event:
- Tiffany Williamsis the Senior Human Trafficking and Labor Rights Specialist for the Global Economy project of the Institute for Policy Studies. She also serves as the coordinator for the Beyond Survival campaign of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and is known to speak for domestic workers who survived human trafficking and labor exploitation in the Washington metro area.Tiffany graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science, and from Columbia University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She is a licensed social worker in the District of Columbia.She claimed that the Devyani Khobragade issue was an issue of abuse of domestic workers in India. She is associated with the groups who were demanding that US President Obama raise questions about free expression and political intimidation while visiting India.2. Insia Dariwala Pandey is a filmmaker and writer who has initiated workshops to sensitize children and educators about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA).
3. Audrey D’Mello is a programme director of the Majlis Legal Center headed by the well-known legal expert and feminist Flavia Agnes who is known to oppose the Uniform Civil Code. She has authored Of Lofty Claims and Muffled Voices: A Perspective of the Gujarat Carnage, which gives a biased account of the 2002 Gujarat riots pinning blame on current Prime Minister Narendra Modi and various Hindu groups, a familiar but discredited narrative.
4. Shalini Sharmais a Police Inspector of Mumbai’s Crime Investigative Unit (CIU). She was chosen for a $10,000 scholarship to learn Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Management from Scotland Yard in 2008.
The event is moderated by Aarefa Johari, a journalist associated with scroll.in, a far-left online media venture whose open antipathy towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the BJP, is well-known.
All of this naturally begs the question: wouldn’t it have been fitting to invite someone from the Government to give the government’s perspective? Or at any rate, in the interest of transparency, why not reveal the ideological affiliations of the panellists? Or if the answer is that this panel discussion is a private event then this question arises: why is it being sponsored by the US Consulate under its own banner?
Indeed, in light of recent events, it doesn’t take much to understand what the Consulate is doing and why it has selected the topic it has. This must be examined in the light of the purposeful mischief created by the BBC which aired the agenda-driven film, “India’s Daughter,” last week, and which is scheduled for release in New York later this year.
The names and fronts of the sponsors of this documentary, which includes Hillary Clinton makes the anti-India agenda of the US-UK clear. Which is also unsurprising given how Hillary Clinton has repeatedly interfered in and tried to stall among other things, the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The noted commentator Rajeev Srinivasan describes this ruthless anti-India propaganda and all-out attack by the US-UK as the “US Deep State,” whose blind follower is the UK. Apart from trying to shame India on the international stage, the motive also seems to be to make Indians feel ashamed about their own culture and society through relentless propaganda, eventually leading to the breakup of the Indian society.
The Indian Government must not tolerate this sort of destructive propaganda-driven panel discussions on its own soil and must warn the US Consulate General against such interference and mischief. India has enough and more agencies, bodies, organizations and institutions both in the private and public sector who can educate our women about their legal and civil rights. The US Consulate General must purely stick to diplomatic functions.
Or India must respond in kind—the United States must not be surprised or outraged if the Indian Consulate organizes similar events in Washington and New York involving activists from ACLU while taking inputs from media houses like Fox News and MSNBC.