700+ concerned citizens demand NCW to ensure strong action against Prajwal Revanna, HD Revanna and others involved in the horrific sexual violence case

700+ concerned citizens demand NCW to ensure strong action against Prajwal Revanna, HD Revanna and others involved in the horrific sexual violence case

700+ concerned citizens demand NCW to ensure strong action against Prajwal Revanna, HD Revanna and others involved in the horrific sexual violence case
Sexual violence case against Prajwal Revanna and HD Revanna

3rd May, 2024: Responding to a petition initiated by the All-India Feminist Alliance (ALIFA) and Women for Democracy (WFD), hundreds of concerned citizens from across India, including well-known feminists from women’s groups, social, human rights activists, trade unionists, academics, scientists, lawyers, former bureaucrats, film makers, students and others wrote to the National Commission for Women (NCW), calling for strong legal action against Prajwal Revanna (MP) and HD Revanna (MLA), from Karnataka, including swift inquiry and arrest, for the offences of sexual violence faced by numerous women and video recording of the same.

The signatories of the strongly-worded petition conveyed their deep dismay at the lack of prompt and strict action by the NCW, (beyond issuing a notice to the State DGP), not just in this instance, but in a series of cases of women’s rights violations, especially where members of the ruling party or its affiliates have been involved, thus weakening the authority, independence and legal mandate of the Commission. 

Few of the 700 signatories who signed the petition include:

Prof. Rama Melkote, Kavitha Kuruganti, Aruna Roy, Hasina Khan, Madhu Bhushan, Chayanika Shah, Lalita Ramdas, Kavita Srivastava, Moumita Alam, Grace Banu, Mariam Dhavale, Dr Sylvia Karpagam, Veena Shatrughna, Dr. Jayati Ghosh, Jarjum Gamlin Ete, , Dr. Gabriele Dietrich, Meena Kandasamy, Madhuri, Prof. Rooprekha Verma, Kalyani Menon Sen, Ulka Mahajan, Vani Subramanian, Maimoona Mollah, Nirjhari Sinha, Dr Sheetal Kamble, Puli Kalpana, Dr. Rati Rao, Faiza Khan, Vibhuti Patel, Bondita Mrina, Arundhati Dhuru, Chandana Chakrabarti , Adv Jhuma Sen, Adv Shalu Nigam, Cedric Prakash, Dr. Mira Shiva, Adv Tanya Laskar, Brinelle D'Souza, Madhu Bhadhuri, Adv Indira Unninayar, Harsh Mander, Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Arun Khote, Maya John, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, Sharad Behar, Prafulla Samantara, Gautam Mody, Rita Manchanda, V. Vasanthi Devi, Shaktiman Ghosh, Sabina Martins, Meera Sanghamitra amongst others.

Feminists, women’s rights activists and concerned citizens, who endorsed the letter asked some sharp questions such as:

  • Why has the response of the custodian of women’s rights in the country (NCW) remained so minimal, when no less than a Member of Parliament and a sitting MLA face grave charges of sexual abuse and violence against multiple women, that too in an unprecedented manner?
  • How was Prajwal Revanna allowed to flee the country on a ‘diplomatic passport’, without having to face the consequences for his atrocious and criminal unlawful actions, and who all in positions of power, facilitated the same?
  • Why was Prajwal Revanna allowed to contest the Hassan Lok Sabha seat from the NDA, even after his actions of wide-spread sexual abuse were known and even communicated through a letter dated 8th Dec, 2023 by Mr. Devaraje Gowda, a BJP MLA candidate to no less than the Home Minister, Mr. Amit Shah?
  • By campaigning for a serial sexual abuser like Mr. Prajwal Revanna and allowing him to contest on an MP seat, what message are the Prime Minister and the Home Minister conveying to the women of India?

Considering the seriousness of the issue, gravity of offences as well as impunity enjoyed by the violators, the following demands were placed by the signatories: 

  • Ensure the immediate arrest of Prajwal Revanna and HD Revanna, based on the FIRs filed against them, as well as arrest of all those involved in concealing or facilitating the offences by Prajwal Revanna and HD Revanna.
  • Issue Summons to Prajwal Revanna and HD Revanna, to initiate a swift inquiry and proceed to recommend appropriate legal and criminal action against them as per the powers vested in the NCW.
  • Recommend cancellation of Prajwal Revanna’s diplomatic passport and ensure his return to India immediately.
  • Ensure protection of identities of survivors as well as adequate safety and security to all the women who have faced sexual abuse, who have complained, are likely to complain and are potential witnesses in the case, as per the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018.
  • Ensure necessary psychological, medical, financial and legal support to all the survivors of the sexual assault, as well as rehabilitation in terms of NALSA’s compensation scheme for Women Survivors of Sexual Assault, 2018.
  • Recommend the disqualification of HD Revanna as an MLA and that Prajwal Revanna should not be allowed to assume charge as MP, even if he is declared a winner, until the charges against him are judicially settled and he is held fully accountable for all offences committed.
  • Issue summons to the BJP President to inquire into information available to the ruling party about the criminal activities of Mr. Prajwal Revanna since December 2023 and why no action was taken by it in this regard, when BJP decided to allow the accused to contest as an MP from BJP-led Alliance of NDA, with the Prime Minister himself campaigning for him.
  • Direct all online platforms and digital search engines to de-index and take down the videos and images immediately, to protect the safety and dignity of the survivors. Circulation and distribution of this content online and offline must be strictly forbidden and stern legal action must be taken against those who circulate the videos or images of the women survivors.

As feminist, women’s rights and democratic groups, we hope and trust that the National Women’s Commission will ensure effective action on all the above counts and rigorously pursue the case until, all the perpetrators and facilitators of the offences are brought to justice and all the survivors are fully supported.