Khurshid Anwar was executive director of Institute for Social Democracy, a new Delhi based NGO. He allegedly committed suicide on the morning of 18 December following allegations that charged him with raping a fellow activist on the night of 12 September. The allegations first surfaced on Facebook, and then in a CD prepared in the office of the well-known activist and right wing sympathizer, Madhu Kishwar.
A kind act of allowing a drunk, unwell, female worker of a group that worked on Uttarakhand floods relief work to stay over at his house in September led to a complaint of rape soon after. Interestingly, he asked for another woman worker from the same group to stay and take care of the girl but the girl’s colleagues paid no attention and left her with him. It is sad to note that had Khurshid Anwar turned out the drunk and unwell girl on the roads that night, he would’ve still been with us today! A few days later, the girl who stayed over at his house alleged rape, but in spite of Dr Anwar’s open challenge to her did not get an FIR registered nor appeared for a medical test.
However, without any FIR being lodged or case being registered, the social media began defaming him and harassing him and this has relentlessly continued since late September. He filed a defamation case against the same.
On Tuesday night (17th December), India TV ran a full feature on him, vilifying him and declaring him to be a rapist. The FIR was lodged only on Tuesday evening, and not by the girl but by some parties on her behalf. On 18th morning, Khurshid Anwar committed suicide.
The questions we wish to raise are:
What gave the media a right to pronounce him guilty before an FIR was lodged and courts looked into the matter?
Why was no medical examination done or FIR lodged till December after the alleged rape happened in September?
More importantly, why are social media and national TV defaming and harassing a man who has not been proved guilty? It is time to demand a stop to the trial by media and implement ways to regulate it.
Please share this widely and let us stand together for a man who was denied the due process of law before being vilified; something that should not be acceptable to a modern, democratic citizenship.