Release 2 Social Workers Jailed for Supporting a Rape Survivor in Bihar #FreeKalyaniTanmay

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Many of us have heard about the case in Araria, Bihar because a gang rape survivor was jailed for raising her voice in court. Along with the survivor, her two young social worker friends Kalyani and Tanmay were also arrested.

All three were charged with contempt of court, obstruction of public duty and sent to jail. There was a huge public outcry over this and survivor was released on bail after 9 days. However, her two friends, who were there to support her throughout the ordeal, continue to languish behind bars since 10th July (which makes them particularly vulnerable in these COVID times). Every day they spend behind bars is a travesty of justice.

Is this what should happen to those of us who bravely stand up against sexual assault? What kind of message is being sent out? Sign my petition so that the two social worker friends of the survivor are freed immediately.

As a member of the citizen’s group fighting for justice, I want to tell you exactly what happened in the Araria court.

· The woman who survived the rape was called to the court to record her statement before a Judicial Magistrate.

· She was in a state of agony because of the trauma of gang rape and the social stigma attached. The family of one of the accused was also pressuring her to marry him. Can you imagine her state of mind? She got agitated while giving her statement. She said she did not understand what the Magistrate was saying and raised her voice asking her friend and support person Kalyani to be called.

· The survivor signed the statement after the Investigating Officer cajoled her to do so. It was only then that the Magistrate called the support persons inside, who tried to calm the survivor. She also appealed to the judge to read out the statement to the survivor, since she had not understood the statement that she had signed. Tanmay, who was also present, spoke up, putting in a word for the survivor. The Magistrate mistook the pleas for help as a personal affront and disrespect to the court.

I am trying everything I can to free my friends. I started this petition because I believe that public support can move the system to be more sensitive towards the needs of survivors and their support persons.

Sign my petition asking the authorities to expedite the unconditional release of these two young social workers and to ask for measures for safety and sensitivity in such matters in the future.

What makes this matter all the more urgent is Corona pandemic. The conditions inside prisons are particularly vulnerable right now. Because of the lockdown, all district courts are suspended till the 27th July, so no bail hearing can happen!

We need to act fast because the mental health of the survivor is at severe risk in the absence of her primary support givers. She continues to feel punished even after her release! Tanmay and Kalyani continue to be criminalised for caring for a friend, a survivor.

#ArariaArrests #FreeKalyani #FreeTanmay