Indian court grants women access to famous Islamic tomb in Mumbai
- The Bombay High Court ruled that trustees of the Haji Ali tomb could not ban women from entering the tomb, though the decision was stayed in anticipation of an appeal to the Supreme Court.
- Although India’s constitution protects religious groups’ rights to manage their own affairs, the Court invoked an exception for matters that are not “an essential and integral part of the religion.”
- The ruling follows a similar one earlier in the year allowing Hindu women access to temples in the state of Maharashtra.
“Indian Court Orders Haji Ali Tomb to Give Women Full Access” (The New York Times)
“Women can enter Haji Ali sanctum, rules HC” (The Hindu)
“Haji Ali: India court says women can enter Mumbai shrine” (BBC)
(Image Credit: Punit Paranjpe/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, via The New York Times)
Gender-based Harassment in India’s Urban Spaces
A YouGov/Action Aid UK survey recently polled 502 Indian women about their experiences in urban public spaces, finding that nearly four-in-five women have experienced public harassment in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Kolkata. In the aftermath of the brutal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in late 2012, government and civil society campaigns have encouraged women to report violence, although advocates say crimes (particularly domestic violence) continue to be underreported.
Percentage of women reporting having experienced public harassment in cities
Percentage of women reporting public insults and name-calling
Percentage of women reporting having been groped or touched involuntarily
Percentage of women reporting having been drugged
Number of reports of violence against women in 2014, including rape, abduction, and molestation
“Almost 80 percent of Indian women face public harassment in cities: survey” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
“79% of women in India faced public harassment” (The Times of India)
“Three in four women experience harassment and violence in UK and global cities” (ActionAid UK)
* According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau
Indian state government causes upset through exclusion of religious school-educated students from definition of school-going children
- Maharashtra’s social justice minister stated that any child obtaining full-time religious education would not be counted as educated or in-school, including the children enrolled in one of the state’s 1890 registered madrassas.
- After politicians from multiple political parties called the declaration unconstitutional, the minister argued that the designation has been one followed by previous governments.
- Last month, the government instated a rule requiring madrassas to teach math, science, social science, and English in order to be eligible for government grants.
“The decision is against the Constitution. A number of students who studied in madrassas have successfully competed in competitive exams. The government must roll back the decision.”
Read the full story at The Hindu.
(Image Credit: Vivek Bendre/The Hindu)
Mumbai shutters police counseling centers for women involved in domestic disputes
- The centers had previously provided trained police counselors working with not-for-profit organizations in conflict-resolution service provision.
- From 2010 to present, 8,786 applications for counseling have been received, which has led to counseling and resolution options including compromise and further police action.
- Instead of counseling, police will now only be able to outline steps that can be taken and refer women to outside resources.
Read the full story at the Hindustan Times.
Maharashtra state government issues show-cause notices to 10 Mumbai schools classified as “minority schools”
- The notices have arrived as officials claim the schools have not enrolled any minority students in the last three years in flagrant violation of the 51% admissions quota required for the special designation.
- Schools designated as “minority schools” receive special government assistance with infrastructure.
- Four of the ten schools are designated for either the Christian and Parsi communities, with the rest identified in association with the Jain community.
- Maharashtra has 2,490 educational institutions with minority status designations.
More on this story at The Hindu.