This is an account of my experience with Sapana as well as what I have learnt and discussed with PVCHR about her case.
When I first met Sapana I didn’t know about her past or why she was sharing my room. It is only gradually I learnt about her story, from the bits of information that the seeped through the language barrier. The more I knew about her case, the more unbelievable it became. Yet here we were, at the PVCHR’s offices in Varanasi, becoming close friends. I started to see first hand the personal and ideological struggle the women sharing my room is undergoing. Yet still I am unable to fully understand the atrocities she has endured.
This is partly because of her calm and gentle nature, and even more so because she is so giving and selfless. When I met Sapana she had already been in the care of PVCHR for almost 2 months. When I met her is that she was trying to move forward. Fighting for herself and her son. She is developing, trying new things. She has this force and fire that is beginning to ignite. Yet she constantly thinks about her son that she cannot meet. She has trouble sleeping at night. She misses her family but they will not see her. She cannot forget the torture she was put through. Her struggle is far from over.
Sapana’s husband Sunil a dangerous man not only because of how he treats women, but because he has the power to get away with the atrocities he commits. Sapana has been enslaved for 7 years and she has received no justice or aid from any governmental body. This is because her husband has connections with the mafia and the corrupt police. The Inspector General of Police (IG), Varanasi range, denied taking or reading Sapana’s case and the police have wanted to capture her several times. Sunil Gupta, her husband, has also filed a case against PVCHR. Sunil Gupta has filed a police case that Lenin has captured Sapana. Her only help is now also threatened from the police.
Sapana is not getting the freedom she is entitled to because of a corrupt police and a powerful husband. Yet there are thousands of other women in India like Sapana, struggling legally for their human rights. Indian society and legislation is not built for, or adapted to, women that claim the human rights they are entitled to and fight for the justice they deserve. More so, the police are the biggest enforces of a corrupt and unjust system and try to quiet women by threats and violence.
This case should be addressed so Sapana can receive help. So she can divorce her husband. This case represents the abuse that many women endure in India. Sapana has overcome forced marriage, domestic violence, and marital rape. These are problems that should be prevented in India. This case shows the corruption and the neglect of women’s rights in police and government bodies. This case reflects the atrocities Indian women endure in an unjust society.
(An interns from Sweden Claudia Wise Barrow)