“Those who branded Dr. Anwar as rapist did not follow the process of law”

Breaking her silence on the suicide of activist Dr. Khurshid Anwar, his wife Meenakshi Sundriyal has said those branding him as a rapist on various media platforms did not follow the process of law and instead took matters into their own hands.

At the Press Club of India here on Sunday, Dr. Sundriyal said: “I have been an office bearer of the Gender Sensitisation Committee at Jawaharlal Nehru University. I can say that when we try to take matters into our own hands and not follow laid-down procedures on sensitive matters such as rape, it is usually the women who suffer.”

She was responding to their questions including those asked about the role and intentions of another activist Madhu Kishwar, who, according to those close to Dr. Anwar leaked a compact disc containing a video footage in which a 25-year-old woman made rape allegations against Dr. Anwar.

Several others, including Dr. Anwar’s brother, Ali Javed questioned why the activist did not ask the victim to register a First Information Report back in September when the girl approached her.

The case was ultimately registered on December 17, hours before Dr. Khurshid committed suicide.

“Ms. Kishwar is hardly a newbie in such matters. She is well aware of the conventions laid down on dealing with alleged victims of rape. She disregarded all such proprieties and even showed the complainant’s face clearly in the video recorded by her,” said Mr. Javed. Expressing similar sentiments, senior journalist Om Thanvi said: “It is not good enough for Ms. Kishwar to now say that she did not distribute the CD. She admits on her website that she gave the CD to an unknown third party. She should thus answer for the circulation of the CD which affected the reputation of both the complainant and the accused.”

Ms. Kishwar has maintained that the victim herself was reluctant to pursue the case legally in the initial days.

So far, the supporters and family members have alleged that the late activist was forced to take such an extreme step due to the mental harassment and public humiliation caused by a targeted vilification campaign on Facebook and certain TV programmes broadcast on the days immediately leading to his death.

The probe in the case is now being led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

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