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Meet India's most devoted voter, age 97

April 10th, 2014
07:22 AM ET

As Indians go to the polls, CNN's Fred Pleitgen has the story of the 97-year-old who has voted in every Indian election.

Click above to watch.

Filed under:  Imagine a World • India • Latest Episode

One year later, brutal rape has affected ‘every aspect of Indian society’

December 6th, 2013
10:07 AM ET

By Mick Krever and Sumnima Udas, CNN

Last December, India was shaken to its social foundations by the brutal gang rape and killing of a 23-year-old woman on a bus ride home from the movies.

The four men who raped her were sentenced to hang; CNN’s Sumnima Udas spoke with the victim’s mother, father and the doctor who examined her, who said she suffered the most atrocious injuries he had ever seen.

The case has affected “every aspect of Indian society,” Kiran Bedi, India's first high-ranking female police officer and now a social activist told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“It's made the criminal justice system move – whether it's the policing, whether it's the prosecution, whether the judiciary, even the legislature.”

Whenever there is an instance of sexual abuse in India – no matter how far flung the locale – the media is doing a better job of promoting awareness.

“The questions are asked: What is the political system doing or…how is the criminal justice system responding,” she said. They are “all on notice.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • India • Latest Episode

Imagine a World: An assault on humanity in India

September 11th, 2013
09:06 AM ET

An Indian court has just convicted four men in the gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a New Delhi bus last December.

According to UNICEF, 50% of Indian men condone domestic violence.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour tells the story.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • India • Latest Episode

Woman fighting rape in India’s old boys club

February 6th, 2013
05:26 PM ET

Five men are on trial in India this week for the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl.

The case has put India’s treatment of its women, and especially rape victims, under the spotlight as never before.

Even if a rape is reported, victims often complain that Indian police either dismiss their complaints or fail to protect them from their attackers.

Indian police estimate that a staggering 60% of rapes go unreported. Just 26% of the prosecuted cases resulted in convictions in 2011, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

Kiran Bedi was the first high-ranking female officer in India's police force. Her tough brand of law enforcement made such an impact that she became a nationally-recognized figure. A documentary film called ‘Yes madam, sir,’ chronicled her career as a crusading activist.

She knows better that most what needs to change in her country – demanding a wide-ranging education campaign and an entire overhaul of the police, judiciary and politics to combat the systematic scourge of rape and violence against women in India.

In the video above, Bedi tells CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the old boy’s club she fought as an officer and says must be taken on again to combat the culture of rape.

READ MORE: Indian rape debate: Why death penalty is no solution 

Filed under:  India • Latest Episode

Prominent Indian lawyer wary of rape investigations

January 3rd, 2013
06:04 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The men accused in the brutal multiple-rape and killing of a 23-year-old Indian woman have been formally charged in a New Delhi court, but a leading Indian lawyer and women’s rights activist is calling attention to how Indian authorities commonly handle rape cases.

“Investigation by the police is extremely shoddy.” Kirti Singh tells CNN’s Fionnuala Sweeney. “They may not collect proper evidence.”

Police often carry out obscene physical exams on rape victims.

Singh says there is fairly widespread practice of using a two-finger vaginal examination to determine whether a woman was previously engaged in sexual intercourse and courts even look at evidence submitted from this type of assessment.


Filed under:  India • Latest Episode

Indian rape debate: Why death penalty is no solution

Indian rape debate: Why death penalty is no solution
After the gang-rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, many Indians want the death penalty to be introduced for rapists.
January 3rd, 2013
02:22 PM ET

By Ananth Guruswamy, special for CNN

Ananth Guruswamy is director of Amnesty International in India. As the organization's chief campaigner, political advisor, strategist and spokesperson, he leads efforts to end human rights abuses in India and the region.

New Delhi (CNN) – The tragic case of the 23-year old woman who was brutally attacked, raped and left for dead by six men in New Delhi on December 16 has highlighted the unacceptable reality millions of women in India are facing. Violence against women is endemic - more than 220,000 cases of violent crimes against women were reported in 2011 according to official statistics from the Indian government, with the actual number likely to be much higher.

If there has been a silver lining to this horrendous case, it has been the enormous outcry from Indian society. What started as student-led protests in New Delhi has grown to encompass Indians from all walks of life and from the whole political spectrum. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets with the clear message that something has to change, and that women should no longer have to live in fear. <<READ FULL ARTICLE>>

Filed under:  India

Activist: Farmer suicides in India linked to debt, globalization

January 6th, 2010
07:37 PM ET
One environmental activist claims the surge in suicides among India's farmers is related to a system of agriculture that has higher production costs than the farmer can cover with earnings.
One environmental activist claims the surge in suicides among India's farmers is related to a system of agriculture that has higher production costs than the farmer can cover with earnings.

By George Lerner; Producer, AMANPOUR.

(CNN) - Thousands of poor farmers in India have committed suicide over the past decade as changes in India's agricultural policy set off a widening spiral of debt and despair, one environmental activist said Tuesday.

"The farmer suicides started in 1997. That's when the corporate seed control started," Vandana Shiva told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "And it's directly related to indebtedness, and indebtedness created by two factors linked to globalization."

For Shiva, who works with farming communities across India, those two factors were the ceding of control of the seed supply to the corporate chemical industry - leading to increased production costs for already-struggling farmers - as well as falling food prices in a global agricultural economy.

An estimated 200,000 farmers have taken their own lives in India over the past 13 years, according to Indian government statistics.

"The combination is unpayable debt, and it's the day the farmer is going to lose his land for chemicals and seeds, that is the day the farmer drinks pesticide," Shiva said. "And it's totally related to a negative economy, of an agriculture that costs more in production than the farmer can ever earn."

But Columbia University Economics Professor Jagdish Bhagwati, a former adviser to the Indian government, said that globalization was not responsible for the surge of suicides among cotton farmers in the Indian states of Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh.

"There are other states in India where cotton seeds have been absorbed and which are really prosperous. So you have to ask, why is it that these are breaking out?" he asked. "What's happening is very much like the subprime mortgages in the United States, where a whole bunch of salesmen went out and sold mortgages to people who couldn't afford them."

One environmental activist claims the surge in suicides among India's farmers is related to a system of agriculture that has higher production costs than the farmer can cover with earnings.
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Filed under:  1 • Farmers • India • Suicide