ALL INDIA FORGOTTEN WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION (AIFWA)
ALL INDIA MEN'S WELFARE ASSOCIATION (AIMWA)
28 June 2010
All India Forgotten Women's Association and All India Men's Welfare Association, hereby, announce their support to Mr. Ravindra Gangurde's "Jail Bharo Andolan" as a sign of protest against arbitrary arrests of ordinary law-abiding citizens under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws. We submitted a letter today to the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad to request for permission to stage a peaceful demonstration.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
* Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
* No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
* Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
In blatant violation of all the above rights, thousands of husbands and their families are arbitrarily arrested every year, without evidence or investigation, under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related wife-centric laws which presume that the accused are "guilty until proven innocent".
India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has noted the misuse of dowry laws, arrest of innocent individuals and the resultant overcrowding of prisons. NHRC has urged the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to take measures against these abuses. High Courts across the country and the Supreme Court have condemned the misuse of dowry laws. The Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad issued standing instructions through a memo vide No.L&O/M6/1315/2002 to check arbitrary arrests. The AP Police Dept. has even launched a web page entitled "Abuse of 498A" on the Dept. website.
Nevertheless, abuse of police powers continues and unnecessary arrests have only been growing in the State of AP. Police routinely enter people's homes at ungodly hours, take accused men and women into custody, and incarcerate them in the name of "protecting women from cruelty and harassment". Innocent citizens are illegally detained, humiliated, subjected to mental and physical torture, blackmail and extortion. The honour and reputation of these accused individuals is simultaneously attacked through media trial and unrestrained slander by women's organizations every day. Many men and women have been driven to suicide due to the trauma of false cases, arrest, prolonged trials and the resultant humiliation and financial troubles they have to endure.
According to statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2007 alone, an overwhelming 94% of the individuals arrested under IPC Section 498A were found not guilty. A closer look at individual cases under Section 498A reveals that arrests are made by lower cadre police officials without proper justification and only with the intent of terrorizing innocent citizens and extorting money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.
Our numerous pleas to the Government of India to stop arbitrary arrests of citizens under IPC Section 498A have fallen on deaf ears. On the other hand, new laws are always on the anvil (sexual assault, work place harassment, acid attacks etc.) which stress on immediate arrest of men upon mere accusations made by women.
While it is amply clear that under the prevailing circumstances, arrest is inevitable for any man facing allegations of abuse or assault, it is imperative that our fathers, brothers and sons are prepared to go to jail along with us even if they committed no crime. Ordinary law abiding male citizens and their kin should be freed from the fear of jail and the concomitant feelings of humiliation and suffering so that they do not drive themselves into depression, ruin their health or end their own lives.
In light of the above facts, we, the All India Forgotten Women's Association (AIFWA) and All India Men's Welfare Association (AIMWA), extend our support to Mr. Ravindra Gangurde, who has called for a "Jail Bharo Andolan" on 6 July 2010. On behalf of our fathers, brothers and sons, we sought the permission of the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, to conduct a peaceful demonstration (of not more than 50 persons) near the Women Police Station, CCS, Hyderabad, between 10:00-11:00 a.m. on 6 July 2010 and personally submit a memorandum.
The following material was submitted as enclosures along with the letter:
1) English translation of letter from Mr. Gangurde calling for "Jail Bharo Andolan".
2) Article from India Post; Dowry Law Sec 498(A) – How and why the law is an ass. (Special Report – English)
3) Memo issued by Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad – No.L&O/M6/1315/2002. (Hyderabad CP's Memo)
4) A.P. Police webpage on "Abuse of 498a". (AP Police – Ladies Special)
5) Letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs to Mr. Gangurde.