50 Cases of Witch-Hunting in Rajasthan in Over a Year, Not One Conviction
The Indian Express - Jaipur, India, 8/31/2017
Two cases of witch hunting within a week - the torture and subsequent death of 40-year-old Kanya Devi in Ajmer, and the confinement of an 80-year-old woman for 18 days after being branded a witch - have brought into focus the medieval practice of witch hunting that continues in Rajasthan despite a dedicated Act prohibiting it. Rajasthan enacted the Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting Act in 2015, becoming the fifth state after Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Odisha to legislate on the matter. Between April 2015, when the Act came into effect, and September 2016, 50 cases have been reported to the police from 12 districts, but there has not been a single conviction yet.
Chandigarh Gets Its First Transgender Welfare Board with 14 Members
The Indian Express - Chandigarh, India, 8/30/2017
The UT Administration has formed a 14-member Transgender Welfare Board. The board will ensure legal recognition of transgenders and safeguard their rights. The board will address the problems being faced by transgenders and take steps to ensure equal treatment for them. Dhananjay Chauhan, director of Saksham Trust, is a non-official member of the board. ‘I am so happy that finally we have our own welfare board. I thank the UT Administration, director (social welfare), state legal services authority for giving equal rights to LGBTQ community. It is a big achievement for transgender community in Chandigarh.’ Chauhan, said the board would also ensure that no one from their community faced any kind of harassment if they wished to take admission to the varsity.
Eunuchs to Move SC Against Census Results
The Nation - Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan, 8/30/2017
The transgender community will file petition with the Supreme Court against the results of the 6th Population and Housing Census released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS). This was disclosed by Shahana Abbas, the coordinator of Ittehad Bara-e-Haqooq-e-Khawaja Sira Pakistan. She said that the community has rejected the bogus, inaccurate and misleading count of transgender population across the country. Abbas said that the census staff did not visit their places where they live, or refused to count them because mostly they did not have CNICs and individual houses yet now. She added that several transgender persons, who were mentioned as male or female in their CNICs, were not counted as transgender.
Criminalising Marital Rape ‘May Destabilise Institution of Marriage’: Centre Tells Delhi HC
Hindustan Times - New Delhi, India, 8/29/2017
The Centre on August 29 told the Delhi High Court that criminalising marital rape ‘may destabilise the institution of marriage’ and would become an easy tool for harassing husbands, a position slammed as retrograde by rights activists. Responding to a bunch of petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape, the government said in an affidavit that the Supreme Court and high courts had already pointed to the misuse of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) that prescribes punishment for husband for subjecting his wife to cruelty. ‘As to what constitutes marital rape and what would constitute marital non-rape needs to be defined precisely before a view on its criminalisation is taken,’ it said.
Constitutional Row on LGBT Heats Up
The Korea Times, South Korea, 8/29/2017
Far-right Christian groups are increasing efforts to block attempts to amend part of the Constitution that governs marriage, claiming the liberal-minded in the country are seeking to legitimize homosexuality. A special committee comprised of lawmakers began a nationwide tour on August 29 to hear public opinions on the possible revision of the Constitution to better guarantee equal rights. Christian groups oppose the committee's move to change or revise a part of the clause that defines marriage. The current clause states, ‘Marriage and family life should be established and maintained by equality of both sexes…’ But the committee has sought to either remove the ‘both sexes’ part or replace it with gender-neutral language.