Thursday, August 19 2021

Dive In

We will not discuss what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It is sharia law and that is it. There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in our country.

That’s a spokesperson making it crystal clear that the Taliban will not even make a pretence of holding elections or crafting a new constitution.


Editor’s note: Have you checked out our zoom feature for images? Now you can just tap to take a closer look at any of those photos or pieces of art. Also: be sure to check out the latest episode of the splainer team’s podcast ‘Press Decode’ over at the IVM website, Spotify or Apple podcasts. This week, they’re talking about Afghanistan (of course!) and the shor sharaba over Sabyasachi’s collab with H&M. Finally: Don’t forget to sign up to reserve your place for our next Ask Me Anything session with Neha Dixit—a brilliant independent journalist best known for her international award-winning reporting, especially on gender and communal violence. She’s the best person to tell you all that’s happening on the ground in states like Uttar Pradesh.

Big Story

A shocking mass sexual assault in Lahore

The TLDR: A mob of 400-plus men in Lahore sexually lynched a woman who was filming a TikTok video on the country’s Independence Day. The gruesome event is just the latest example of escalating violence against Pakistani women—whose plight gets very little attention as all eyes are on the Taliban. 


Trigger warning: This is a dreadful story about sexual violence.


What happened to this woman?

She arrived at a Lahore park with six companions to film the I-Day celebrations for her TikTok account. A mob of young men started to attack them when they sought refuge in a nearby enclosure at the Minar-e-Pakistan—a national monument. But the men scaled the gates and proceeded to sexually assault the woman—tearing off her clothes and throwing her in the air. According to her, the ordeal lasted 2.5 hours. The police did not respond to frantic calls for help. And video clips—taken by the men who were participating or watching the violence—soon went viral. (We are not embedding the stomach-turning video, but it can be accessed here. Sometimes it is important to bear witness… so it’s your choice.) 


The FIR: She initially did not report the violence. But once the clips went viral, she was approached by the police. An FIR was then registered under sections 354 A (assault or use of criminal force against woman and stripping her of her clothes), 382 (theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to commit the theft), 147 (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The police are now using the footage to identify suspects.


What she said: The survivor later spoke to reporters and said:


“Yes, I went there for a while, I wanted to go there, I am not forbidden from going there just because I am a YouTuber or a Tiktoker. But nobody had the right to strip me naked. A woman’s life ends when such a thing is done publicly to her. My body was being played with and tortured. My body is covered in bruises. What did I do to deserve this?... The clothes I wore were not vulgar. I have never made a vulgar video or worn a vulgar outfit. I was wearing a proper dress that I had specially made for the August 14. All my clothes were removed before I could get a grasp of what was happening.”


And this is a pattern?


In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Coming soon: Women Supreme Court justices!
  • Legal relief for Shashi Tharoor
  • Danish Sait’s ‘delivery partner’ problem
  • A tiny human brain with ‘eyes’


Reading Habit

  • An ode to physical books
  • Monisha Rajesh talks about the inherent biases in the publishing industry

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