Another horrific attack in Uttar Pradesh led to the death of a twenty-three year old woman rape victim while traveling to attend a court hearing. Police accuse five men, two identified by the victim as her previous rapists, of stalking her as she prepared to board a commuter train. They doused her with kerosene then set her alight.
She then suffered having to walk nearly a kilometer afterward to summon police via telephone. She was medivaced to New Delhi having received burns to ninety-five percent of her body before suffering cardiac arrest and succumbing to her injuries.
The attack not only highlights a combative approach by some members of society toward the rights of women, but also conveys the shortcomings of a burdened legal system that in some ways facilitates retribution against victims and vigilantism against the accused. It is another, probably less recognized cost of the lack of speedy trial protections in Uttar Pradesh.
The vacuum brought forth by the absence of a strong state has led to increasing numbers of young women cast into forced marriages as compensation for perceived grievances between tribes. These marriages, called Fasliya Marriage for an Arabic word meaning marriages arranged for compensation, pose a serious threat to the civil rights of women in these tribes as they become pawns to be bartered between warring factions.
The increasing tribal tensions in areas of Iraq, and the absence of government law enforcement upholding federal laws banning the practice, has led to increases in frequency of these marriages through the resurrection of traditional tribal forms of conflict resolution.
If it was possible to add another injustice levied against Farkhunda, a woman who suffered a brutal murder at the hands of a mob in Afghanistan that insisted she burned a Koran, authorities publicly announced she was in fact innocent of these claims.
In response to this outrage, a day of national morning occurred during her funeral and burial. Various leaders including Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned her murder as a heinous attack. Reports of police standing nearby and indifferent to the incident lead the president to call for fundamental reforms in the nation’s police forces.
The Montana Secretary of State Office approved the ballot a measure that would mandate the legislature be equally represented by men and women. Presently, women hold 41 of the 150 seats in the state legislature. There are several more processes to surmount before the ballot measure becomes listed on the general election ballot. A signature drive follows and must obtain valid signatures of ten percent of the total voters in Montana and ten percent in each of the forty legislative districts. The signature gathering with the requisite signatures must be collected by June 20th if to be placed upon the ballot.