After ‘triple talaq’, Jharkhand woman accuses husband of rape, forced conversion


A woman has lodged a police complaint in Ranchi alleging that she was duped into marriage by a man who allegedly coerced her into embracing Islam and eating beef, raped her for six years, administered her sedatives to get her to have sexual relations with others, video graphed the act and finally divorced her by way of triple talaq.

She has identified the accused as Sonu alias Md Abul Kaish.

Based on the woman’s complaint, the police have registered an FIR under Sections 376 (rape), 376 (2) (g) (gang rape), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and various other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“We have started the investigation. As per our information, the accused is not in Ranchi. However, we will find out the truth and appropriate legal action will be taken,” Ranchi SP (rural) Ashutosh Shekhar said.

The accused, who is in Delhi, however, denied the allegations when contacted on phone.

According to the FIR, the woman, a resident of Ranchi, had joined an NGO as a counsellor in June 2013 where she came in contact with the accused.

“Sonu always used to put tilak on his forehead. In August, when I was ill, Sonu came to my residence and took me to see a doctor. On return, he gave me some pill after which I became unconscious,” the woman has alleged in the FIR. “Two days later, I found myself naked at Sonu’s house in Ranchi. When I tried to escape, he showed me some videos in which I was in lying naked with some other man.”

“Threatening to make these videos public, he asked me to follow his commands. One day, he asked me to wear a burqa (veil) and took me to a Qazi at Ranchi’s Doranda area. The Qazi made me to accept what he uttered. He then told me I had become a Muslim and my ‘nikah’ was solemnised with Md Abul Kaish,” the woman has said in her complaint.

“I then realised that Sonu was not a Hindu and I was converted into a Muslim. He later forced me to eat beef. After losing his job in Ranchi, he took me to Delhi in August 2016. There, I experienced worst form of torture. He used to come with some other person every night to commit gang rape,” the complaint reads.

In May this year, the accused had gone somewhere else, leaving her alone in Delhi. “I then came to my village and after some days, I went to Sonu’s ancestral house in Rajmahal. There, his family members refused to accept me saying Sonu already had a legitimate wife from the same community,” the complaint says.

The woman alleged she finally traced Sonu in Ranchi but he refused to accept her. In fact, he divorced her by way of triple talaq on July 27, 2019, she alleged.

Sonu (37) said, “I am a lawyer in Delhi. Baseless allegations have been levelled against me. When I was working with the NGO in Ranchi, the woman was introduced to me along with her brother. Her bother and I developed a good bond. When I shifted to Delhi, he once visited me seeking some job. I helped him to find a job in a cloth factory. Later, he had taken a loan of Rs 3.75 lakh from me to open a cloth shop in Ranchi. When I demanded the money back, they started threatening me with lodging a false case.”

94 pc women in Bihar know about contraceptives but only 1 in 5 use them


According to government data from 2015-16, Bihar is India’s fifth poorest and third most populous state, with the country’s highest total fertility rate at 3.4 children per woman.

A survey conducted in Bihar by IndiaSpend found that 94 percent of sexually active women aged between 15-49 knew of at least one of the eight contraceptive methods available, but only 20.1 percent (one in five) were currently using them. It also found that a higher number of unmarried, sexually active women used contraceptives (42 percent) than married ones (27 percent).

So if there is widespread knowledge about contraceptives in Bihar, why is there such less usage?

The survey suggested that the fear of side-effects was the biggest cause. This was followed by the desire the conceive, a general disinclination to use contraceptives, and opposition from partners. Other reasons included lack of access and knowledge, and religious objections.

According to the survey, the most preferred method of contraception in the district of Gaya, was Copper T – an intrauterine device made of copper. This was followed by withdrawal from the man, tubal ligation, and condoms.

The survey also found that the burden of contraception is almost entirely borne by the women. Supporting this finding, data from the Health Management Information System showed that among all the sterilisation procedures conducted in Bihar in 2017, 98.9 percent were on women.

A report by the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) assessed the role of the government in the delivery of contraceptive information and services to women.

It said that India committed to distribute contraceptives at the community level through 8.6 lakh community health workers, known as ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) by 2020, at the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. However, modern contraceptive prevalence rates in India are growing at an unsatisfactory rate, suggesting that the country is unlikely to meet its goal.

ASHAs are the key administrators of family planning services at the community level, and work primarily towards encouraging female sterilisation procedures.

Although the ASHA programme is a crucial part of the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), the number of ASHA workers engaged across the country, as of 2014, shows a shortfall of around 3.4 lakh.

Among the suggestions on the way forward for better contraceptive use and knowledge in rural India, the report said that there needs to be more extensive training for ASHA workers, emphasising on counselling techniques so that they are equipped to ‘break down communication and socio-cultural barriers relating to contraceptive use at the community level.’

It also said that ASHA workers should be paid a fixed-rate salary in order to ensure they provide unbiased and comprehensive contraceptive information and services, without a disproportionate focus on female sterilisation.

2 women assaulted, tonsured for resisting rape bid by councillor in Bihar


A 48-year-old woman and her newly married 19-year-old daughter were ‘punished’ in Vaishali’s Bihari village for protesting against a rape bid by a local ward councillor. The police said that ward councillor Mohammad Khurshid and his henchmen assaulted the women, shaved their head and paraded them across the village. The ward councillor, a barber and three others were arrested by the police on Thursday, after a video of the incident went viral on social media.

Sanjay Kumar, station house officer (SHO) of the Bhagwanpur police station confirmed the incident and said that the matter is under investigation. He said that half a dozen people barged into the victims’ house and attempted to rape the daughter. After the mother tried to rescue her daughter, the accused physically assaulted the two women.

One of the accused beat them with wooden sticks, dragged them outside their house and held a ‘panchayat’. Khurshid called a barber and ordered him to shave the women’s heads, and paraded them across the village.“Around 6.30 pm, half a dozen armed men forcibly entered my house and attempted to rape me. When my mother tried to save me, they started beating us,” the one of the victims told the police.

Eyewitnesses said that Khurshid alleged that the duo was involved in a flesh trade racket.

A case has been registered against seven people under sections 376 (punishment for rape), 511 (punishment for attempting

‘Bihar Suno Nahin Dekho’: How these women are trying to change perception about Bihar


The very mention of Bihar brings images of an under-developed society into the mind — when the state clearly has emerged as one of the fastest growing regions in India, clocking over 10 per cent annual growth for the past decade.

According to the Bihar Economic Survey, in 2016-17, the growth rate was 11.3 per cent, while the national average was 7 per cent.

Rapid growth in infrastructure, energy and communication sectors and public investment in roads played a major role in bringing the turnaround. Other important factor that contributed in the spurt of opportunities was the plethora of campaigners who worked tirelessly for changing the perception about Bihar.

Amongst the campaigners are two women — Yashi Malviya and Sukriti Yadav — who took it upon themselves to inform the world how beautiful Bihar can be.

The two women, both of them journalists, began a campaign through their website ‘Bihar Bytes’ and travelled to as many as 32 districts of Bihar. From their travel was born #biharsunonahidekho — capturing the essence of the state.

Under the hashtag, they ran video clips, photographs and stories about several unexplored places of Bihar — places that can be on the bucket lists of tourists — on the social media . 

“One fine day, we Googled Bihar and we were shocked to see that there were almost no good images of the state on the internet. Bihar was perceived in a negative light. And there on we took it upon us to work and improve the image of the state,” Yashi Malviya, co-founder at Bihat Bytes, said.

Speaking to India TV, Sukriti Yadav, co-founder at Bihar Bytes, said, “I have heard several people say there was no place to visit in Bihar. We visited a lot of places which were not promoted. Manjhar Kund, Tutla Bhawani waterfall, Rohtasgarh Fort, Panth Pakkar, Darbhanga Fort, Rajnagar Palace, and others were on our list. We collected relevant data about the places to spread the word through social media, our website and various travel and blogger meet-ups.”

Perhaps a start is made — to attract people from across the world and the Bihari diaspora to come to explore the state.  

The two campaigners now only hope that they bring a change in how Bihar is perceived in India and across the world.

“I have experienced a whole new world and a different side of Bihar which had been neglected. And I want everyone to visit those places. We have heard it enough that Bihar is a backward state. We believe that increase in tourism will give a boost to employment and economic growth of the state,” Sukriti signed off. 

Improving the Lives of Women in Bihar

In Bihar, India, hope is found where you least expect it. Behind a closed door where 10 to 25 women  have come together to discuss their most urgent needs. Unheard of a generation ago, this gathering is a mahila mandal – better known in this country as a women’s group.

Life for women and girls in Bihar is especially grim as they face a system called Purdah that is almost as oppressive and restrictive as the Taliban era in Afghanistan. Women are required to cover themselves in public and cannot travel without their husbands’ permission. The harsh realities are reflected in the almost 90 percent illiteracy rate among women and the fact that 88 percent of girls marry before the age of 17.  

Mahila mandals, with the aid of international organizations and donor support, are beginning to help though. One of the positive changes will be setting up savings and credit groups in which loans are approved and administered by and for local women.  Having access to a loan as small as $50 can completely transform a woman’s life in Bihar. Even a small amount of money can provide her the means to purchase raw materials that can be turned into finished products for sale, including seeds to grow crops, or an animal that produces milk, cheese or eggs that are marketable. 

This year, there will be 100 new mahila mandals or women’s savings and credit groups formed in Bihar. It is anticipated that the capital saved by the 5,100 group members will increase from $21,000 to $40,000 this year. More than 90 percent of that amount will be revolved as loans among the members. The value of this community-controlled asset is especially amazing when you realize the average annual income in this area is just over $400 a year.

Support from individuals in the United States can help transform the lives of women in this region and offer hope to them for a safer, more secure future.