24.7.17

Meet To Sleep / Next On September 24

Meet To Sleep
16th January 2016
Meet To Sleep , Bangalore
Location: Cubbon Park
Action Heroes: Joshua C.D, Susan Jose, Vikash Lohia, Arvind Thyagarajan, Anubandh, Rutuja Chitra, Pranita, Sandhya.S, Madhu Shukla, Vijji Chari, Yogesh Dilhor, Harini Vasudevan, Vijaya Savithri, Priyanka Pai, Tom Krippner, Chitra. B, Sachi Raval, Manasvini Shankar, Tansushree Borundia, Kiri Meili, Megha R. Mehta, Vira Mistry, Jasmeen Patheja.

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Lying down with my back sinking into the earth below while my eyes found a beautiful view above, filled with so many shades of green , intertwined branches and the sky that faded into infinity. I felt safe, to doze off, to dream , to dance in the warmth of the sunlight.  Each leaf on the branches above me was there because it received the warmth and the light of the sun, me lying down under this beautiful foliage was possible because I felt the warmth of safety.  - Action Hero Tansushree Borundia

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I found it pretty easy to sleep knowing that there were people around whom i "knew", even if very briefly. I think it would be a much bigger challenge to try the experiment alone, or in the evening, or in a place more sparsely populated than Cubbon Park is on the weekend.  - Action Hero Manasvini Shankar

This was the second Meet To Sleep event I attended. Both times with my little daughter. And this time was really different from the first - here's how. The first time I did it for myself and for my child. I couldn't sleep, I had a book and a sheet to feel safe. And I was very self conscious. The space was beautiful and I did end up dozing off in the winter sun but woke up to every sound. The second time I did it for a larger cause. And my way of participating was to challenge myself. So no book, no sheet. I stared at the longest time at the lovely canopy and then fell into a deep, peaceful sleep.

What really helped was Jasmeen's briefing at the start, where the intent was communicated so well. And at the end, the sharing was longer and helped connect to the movement most deeply. It was weird and yet so natural that a group of strangers felt a sense of safety in each others' presence.

When my 11-year old daughter was hearing the adults share, she kept whispering back to me, "what is the big deal about sleeping in a park". While she may be too young to understand this, my hope is that with movements such as these, she would continue to ask this question even as an adult woman living in India.

Thank you Blank Noise for holding this space for us.  - Action Hero Vijji Chari

*

I had a very beautiful serene experience at the event. I was inspired by my friend Vijji to make it for this. I value freedom of expression and being,  for each person-  and the cause of women claiming public spaces is very important and relevant in today's otherwise constricting to death  and hostile atmosphere in public spaces.

I have spent time occasionally in Cubbon park in the recent years.. and all through my time trying to nap a part of me kept asking me why i didn’t do this more often. I have like minded company to do it, I enjoyed the park, I love Bangalore, I love nature and contemplation - but what holds me back?
So in all these thoughts I didn’t completely fall asleep. I wanted to real bad.. but my mind did not fully let go. Maybe it was all too exciting or that the other people in the vicinity (not from our group) did play on my mind.

So I was able to relax my body in spite of my alert buzzing mind-  I was aware of random men walking and sitting real close to where I was lying down and I did check on them occasionally. I realised they were simply curious but their cameras made me very uncomfortable (in hindsight). I was also aware of a few men in the distance.. just standing in the thickets.. staring ahead.. maybe not even looking at us ( but my mind would take off like an alarm - psycho masturbator.. flasher.. gross... ) . When stranger women, couples or families crossed I felt absolutely at ease , even if the family maybe disapproving.

At the end of it I just lay watching my breath, the leaves and birds and was able to get my mind off the transitioning crowds around me. I could enter solitude and did not force myself to fall asleep. As I think of this experience now, I realise that my years of conditioning and experience probably did not allow me to relax. And to truly occupy the space fully.. is not just to be able to do it physically ( which is a great step forward) but also  to do it mentally and emotionally. Which  I wasn’t able to do completely . And that is an important insight for me.

And that inspires me to be a part of the next event, or take some naps by myself.. as a process  to allow myself to occupy and inhabit a space fully.

Thank you for creating this beautiful space.. I was very moved by the idea as well as the way you held the space with a cool groundedness. I am so glad to be a part of this.  Action Hero Madhu Shukla


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Meet To Sleep Hyderabad
Action Hero Ally : CLAAP
Location: Sanjeevaiah Park, Hyderabad
Action Heroes: Swetha Dandapani, Suma, Payal, Sana, Rukmini

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Meet To Sleep Pune
Chittaranjan Vatika Park
Action Heroes: Kaustubh Joshi, Saachi Dayal, Naksha Erappa, Ameya Gutta, Sayali Patwardhan

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Meet To Sleep , Mumbai
Action Hero Ally: Why Loiter
Location: Hiranandani Gardens
Action Heroes:  Chaitra Yadavar, Neha Singh,  ( Why Loiter) , Aditi Pinto, Avinay Yadav, Anamika Deb

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Time: 4.40 pm- 4.50 pm, 5.15 pm-5.40 pm

We chose Hiranandani park as it was decided by the Mumbai participants. This is a pay and enter park and mostly couples come here. Very few families were present. There was noone to take permission from the Municipal authorities and we just went ahead. Maybe for the next event of Meet to sleep, we will try to take permission for it.

There are a couple of parks in Mumbai where sleeping in them and eating is not allowed and this was one of them, but we missed reading this board outside. The entire experience of what both Anamika and I had never done before was interesting and overall it was fun as we were trying to convince the guards and giving them logic. :)

Anamika: I had never slept in a park before and this was the first time so it was interesting. I got to argue with the guards and fight a bit with them to let us sleep in the park, which we couldn't do for much time. But we managed for sometime at least like 20 mins. It was an interesting and fun experience overall.

Chaitra: The fact that we tried to get over our fear and we did sleep even though it was only for 30-40 mins instead of 1.5 hour was great. After a while the security guards came and told us to get up..we didn't listen, but continued after he went back. Next time he got 4 of them and again asked us to sit and not sleep. We were giving him various reasons and logic. Anamika even said 'Ghar mein tala hai, hum ghar jaake nahi so sakte', to which he said, 'Toh fir taala todo.' All these dialogues were very interesting. My friends joined for about 20 mins so later it was 4 of us and then all of us were arguing with the guards. We saw them telling other people who were half-lying down to sit straight.
It would have definitely felt better to be part of a bigger group and do this together. At a point we knew we had to stop and get up as they were requesting us and they were only doing their jobs, the authority to give us permission was with the Municipal office. I would have liked if people who had come into the garden had asked us why we were sleeping, which didn't happen. Getting over the fear of sleeping in the park, doing something I hadn't done before and being vulnerable in such a public space was interesting. The experience was worthwhile.

Meet To Sleep Delhi, Dilli!
Location: Deer Park
Action Heroes: Katherine Leider, Avani Tandon, Mahima Taneja, Shruti Patil, Sanjay Nagraj Deshpande, Paromita, Swarnima, Shruthi, Shraddha, Somesh, Amrutha, Nyam Koi, Gathesa, Lisa

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Action Heroes Delhi, report:

A transcript:

“ So we’re recording, if you are on the far side of the circle, please speak up.  So I want to start by just going around, and can everybody say their name and why they’re here today.

Hi my name is Avani, I’ve been associated with Blank Noise for a while now, so when Jasmeen told me that they were planning to organize this I was fairly excited about this because I study in Delhi University and I wasn’t from Delhi earlier so I know all of the anxieties of being a new person in the city and being a woman in the city.  I was excited about maybe tackling some of those fears.
I joined the Meet To Sleep today because for the love of sleeping in the sun in winters without feeling scared, in company and maybe we all will individually reach a point where we can do that alone as well.

My name is Shruthi, I think over the period of one year I have personally tried to go out by myself or try to come back home by myself take a cab by myself  and you know all of it is so problematic.  I think this is one of the ways of furthering a personal goal of  you know just going out by myself. I think.

Hi my name is Sanjay I heard about the event three days ago from a friend who she thought I would be interested in participating in. I thought it was interesting. Reclaiming public spaces has been an academic discourse  for a really long time. However we hardly see it translating into  any, say, physical action. Today again I was hanging out with friends and I asked my friends what they were up to and they told me that they are here, and I said that’s interesting lets try it out  purely out of chance, nothing else.

Hi I’m Paromita, I only came here to sleep, read in the open, which I’ve never done and It was an amazing experience.  (And also we chattered too much ?)

My name is Swarnima and I came here especially to take a break from work because this is something so rare women just lounging around in a park  and just chatting or even sleeping , some people were actually sleeping. So,  it’s just something really rare something we hardly get to do and something I’ve obviously wanted to do a lot. So it was great.

Hi I’m Shruthi,  I’m not from Delhi, I came here from work. I thought  I’m getting an opportunity to sleep in an open space with  people with the same kind of outlook.

Hi I’m Shraddha,  I’ve been in Delhi for a while now  but I came here just to sleep and it was really nice. I did manage to, you know, catch some sleep and it was wonderful and I love to sleep so, you do it in your bed and you do it in the office and you do it in cars and buses.  I don’t know why I haven’t tried doing it in a park yet. I mean at least in delhi I haven’t. so yeah, the was great.

Hi I’ve been in Delhi for quite a while now, 8 years or something but every now and then I  look at the park below  my house and I keep wondering why can’t I sleep on this bench because I really really love nature and I love open spaces. So when I got to know about this opportunity I thought that it was really good. And I already feel quite rejuvenated so thank you.

Hi I’m Somesh, and I just came to know about this event a couple of hours ago and the first thing that crossed my mind  was will I even be allowed here because as a male am I supposed to feel unsafe in a public space and then I thought about all the times that I actually felt unsafe in a public space which was actually quite a lot so I thought  why not give  this a shot. Just last night I was  at a railway station in  Jaipur and even there I had to think twice before falling sleep.  And then the next day I come here and I get to know that something like this is happening I thought okay lets…. At least one time I should  do this. I might be able to do this again and again given that I saw quite a few men sleeping randomly while coming here. But to do this in such an organized manner… and maybe to learn about what your experiences. I think that adds to its value. And it feels good coming here.

Hi my name is Amrutha and I’m originally from Pune but I’ve been in delhi for over 5 years now.  And I understand the importance  of this event in terms of  reclaiming your public spaces but I also feel is that fear is something what you have in your head. A lot of times when I have been absolutely pissed drunk and I have taken auto at midnight by myself  and I was like let me see what happens and nothing happens. Everyone tells me you’re in Delhi you should carry a pepper spray with you, I refuse to do that. Because I don’t want to live in that constant fear that because I’m a woman and something will happen to me. So I wear whatever I want , I walk out at any time I want, I’ve taken cabs all over at one thirty- two o clock in the night. So… and as we’ve seen today  it’s a good thing we were in a group  but tomorrow if we come alone and if you are sleeping with confidence or whatever you are  with confidence people may not really bother you.

Hello I’m Nyam Koi and I was thinking what should I be saying on this and it just struck me that I always actually after lunch if I get  time in the university law I just go out and sit there. and umm it’s slightly different outside than this area because definitely we feel different, we feel much more safer in the campus but this is a good initiative and reclaiming the public space is really important for I think the movement and yeah, thanks for the initiative.

Hi I’m Gathesa, and I just got an invitation from facebook and I came, I have never been part of any event like this and I came here purely out of curiosity

Hello I am Lisa, thank you for this event whoever is organizing this and I just came out to hang out with my friends and at the same time apart from having fun with my friends I kind of like felt the purpose of reclaiming the public space. And thank you for that.

So hey I’m Kat, I’m writing my PhD on performative responses  to the delhi bus gang rape of 2012 and I went out into Bangalore last week and met Jasmeen Patheja who started Blank Noise. Had a really long conversation with her about how she thinks we live in a world in which we are governed by the politics of fear. And in which where fear is used as a way of controlling us and telling us what’s appropriate or inappropriate for us to be doing and she said I want to live in a world that is based on the politics of trust. And I’d never heard someone put it that way before, like I had never someone say what happens if we just like, decide the world is based in a politics of trust and live that way. So I was very curious to see what would happen today. I think it was hard for me because it was cold. But yeah.. I don’t know can we just decide to trust and like live our lives that way and what happens if we do. and the last thing I’ll say is I’d like to pull out this statistic , “ men are far more likely to be attacked in public spaces than women. The reason that women are told to fear is because the way in which they might be attacked can be sexual but like if you’re walking around alone and you’re a dude then you are much more likely to have something physically happen to you and no one talks about that ever. I mean I think this statistic is something like  you’re five times as likely as a man  to be attacked as if you were a woman walking alone in public space so it’s something worth thinking about, yeah? We’re taught that sexual violence  is the most horrifying thing that can ever happen but violence in general is scary and can happen to anyone. So yeah.. I don’t know. What else do you want to talk about.

Meet To Sleep, Goa   
Location: Campal Children’s Park
Action Heroes: Chryselle D’Silva

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Action Hero Chryselle : " I must admit the thought of not being in control in a public park petrifies me and it is precisely because of that that I'd like to do this." -

Meet To Sleep Jaipur
Location: Central Park
Action Heroes: Sukriti Suryavanshi, Meenal Jain, Supriya, Aarushi Kilawat, Parul Khanna, Satyashree Sethia, Palak Khandelwal

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Meet To Sleep Pakistan - Islamabad
Location: F9 Park
Led by Action Hero Ally :  Girls at Dhabas!
Action Heroes: Zoya Rehman, Komal, Steph, Osmaan, Abdullah

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Meet To Sleep Pakistan- Karachi
Led by Action Hero Ally :  Girls at Dhabas!
Action Heroes: Natasha Ansari, Sadia Khatri, Hadi Khatri,  Basil Andrews, Amna Chaudhry, Habiba, Mahnoor

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Action Heroes Karachi / Girls At Dhaba Report
Action Hero Amna:  I paid ten rupees to step into the park and squinted around looking for the rest. The man at the gate pointed towards the left 'aapki dostain udhar baithi hain'  (your friends are sat there) . We have already been identified as a group, an anomaly. But I nod and join the rest. We are four girls. Two of us are well prepared to 'sleep' and have brought sheets, neck pillows and things to read and munch on. We walk around looking for shade. The park is pretty enough but not very clean. Couples have occupied most of the more comfortable spots. They look at us while we walk around. The women are in abaayas but many have taken their shoes off and sit close to the men they're with. There are groups of men too; loitering about, on the phone or smoking. Nobody says anything as we settle down and get comfortable. It is too early for me to sleep and I'm too distracted to read either so I flip through a magazine and look around. A couple nearby has moved away. A man walks by and glances at the cigarette in my hand. Beyond that, it is almost serene. We munch on biscuits and talk a little but mostly we just lapse into our own thoughts. One of us even manages a short nap!

Meet To Sleep Pakistan- Lahore
Led by Action Hero Ally :  Girls at Dhabas!
Location: Bagh-E-Jinnah, Lawrence Garden
Action Heroes: Tahira Babar, Saadia Abbasi, Sanayah Malik, Mehbrano Raja, Abdul Mueed, Qanitah, Sumaira Inayat

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Meet To Sleep , Jodhpur
Location: Umaid Udyan
Action Heroes: Barathi Nakkeeran, Sanjana Srikumar, Meghna Sengupta, Aditi Ameria, Divya Gupta, Pragati K.B.

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Action Heroes Jodhpur Report :
Action Hero, Barathi Nakkeeran : Unfortunately I did not sleep too much on the meet, mostly because I had to keep guard (of?) my belongings. But for the brief time that I did nod off, it was quite empowering for lack of a milder word.  I think it is important that we distinguish spaces on the basis of private and public instead of subjecting it to gender disparity. #SpaceHasNoGender
Action Hero Meghna Sengupta: I honestly thought I would be far more uncomfortable with the idea of getting comfortable in a public park. But when it came don to it, it was surprisingly easy. Lying down to sleep or curling up with a book in a park seemed natural, once I got down to actually doing it. I did notice some glances but eventually I was lost in my own world. And I would definitely do it again, though probably not alone.

Action Hero Aditi Ameria : I immediately liked the concept of meet to sleep, there's something very charming about napping under the sun, surrounded by nature. We spread across the park to better take in the nature and doze off in peace. I am still unsure of whether this is something that I would do alone, when I know that my peers are not in the vicinity. Also, I was a little apprehensive about my wallet getting stolen but after I put it under my head, my worries dissipated, and I had the most relaxing afternoon nap! A  Very A- One experience I would say!

Action Hero Pragati K. B.: This was my second Meet to Sleep, the first one was in Bangalore. Unlike the previous time, I could actually go to sleep this time, albeit for 20 minutes. While I was lying down, I was oblivious to the curious stares I might be getting and was lost in trying to sleep and have a good experience. I'm certain, that a few more of these and I will be able to sleep for a couple of hours, because I see my fear dissipating already.


Meet To Sleep Vadodara
Location: Kamatibaug
Date:  20th February 2016
Action Heroes: Vaidehi Shah, Priyal Shah, Mahima Mehta, Vinitaa Bokadia, Cheshta Chavla, Bhusha Trivedi, Dr. Kanishka Aggarwal, Mallika Pathak, Ashini Katwala, Khushi Pandya 

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Action Heroes Vadodra report
1. This was my first time, sleeping in a park. Initially, it was awkward but later on I got comfortable. Overall it was good and a different experience. 
2. When we were sleeping, another female slept next to us. It's probably because we tend to look for company or some similarity between us and others. 
3. Since it was our first time, the fear hasn't gone completely. Maybe after one or two Meet To Sleep events, the fear of sleeping alone will be gone. 
4. This was a very different experience. It was like there were stages of the experience. First there was over enthusiasm, when we heard of the project. Right before we started, there was nervousness. After we spread our bedsheets, there was a strange feeling of awkwardness slowly, comfort took over. Then came relaxation. Finally, when we got up,  there was rejuvenation. Definitely something I'll continue for the rest of my life.

20.6.17

Pascal Mazurier Rape Case Timeline


The Pascal Mazurier Rape Case:

Between being arrested for raping his child (2012) to being an advocate for 'fatherhood' (2017)

view pdf version here





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Suja Jones had long been suspecting that her infant daughter was being sexually abused. Her suspicions were confirmed when she returned home to see her daughter crying after having spent nearly four hours with her husband Pascal Mazurier in their bedroom.  Following this, in June 2012, she filed a complaint against Mazurier that began a five year long battle against not only her husband, but also society, that repeatedly accused her of being a 'bad mother'. In April 2017, Mazurier was acquitted by the Karnataka district court, the verdict stating that he was innocent and that Suja was using her daughter as a 'weapon' to stop him from leaving India. 

2012

  • Suja Jones had been experiencing domestic violence by her husband Pascal Mazurier, a diplomat at the French Consulate, Bangalore. In 2010, she suspects that her then two year old child, could be a victim of sexual abuse. She takes her daughter for sessions with Dr. Saldhana at Enfold.
  • June 5th 2012: Dr. Saldhana confirms Suja Jones’s belief of child sexual abuse based on her child’s reactions.
Source: 1. http://www.firstpost.com/india/french-diplomat-rape-case-when-it-all-began-350168.html
  • 13th June, 2012: Suja Jones comes home to see her daughter crying. She is informed by her domestic help that Mazurier spent a long time in the bedroom with their daughter and that she had been crying since. She takes her daughter to the Baptist hospital immediately.
Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/french-diplomat-held-on-charge-of-raping-his-child/article3531968.ece
  • 14th June, 2012: Suja files a police complaint, after she is orally informed by the Collaborative Child Response Unit of the Baptist Hospital that the child showed tell-tale marks of sexual abuse. The doctors at the hospital claim that it is a medico legal case, and therefore retain the medical report with the intention of submitting it to the police themselves later.  Pascal Mazurier is held by the Bangalore police on charges of rape. The FIR was registered under Section 376 of the IPC at the High Grounds police station, where he is held for the night and released the next morning. He is not arrested because the French Consul General asks the Police Commissioner not to arrest him till the matter about his diplomatic status was sorted out. Not having a diplomatic passport in India, Pascal was never a diplomat. However, the Consul General was just playing with time or trying to see how they could protect Pascal.
  • 19th June, 2012: There are protests and demonstrations in Bangalore against Pascal Mazurier, by organisations including Enfold. Following this, Mazurier is arrested. The French Embassy draws out a statement saying it would provide full cooperation with the investigation of the case and says that Mazurier does not hold diplomatic immunity and will be tried in India. Suja Jones requests the French Embassy for financial support for herself and her three children. C:\Users\Ananya\Desktop\Blank Noise\arrest.jpg
  • 8th July, 2012: The Bangalore police claim that the results of the DNA tests of the samples collected from Mazurier were 'inconclusive'.
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2170597/Bangalore-police-say-DNA-test-report-rape-accused-French-father-inconclusive.html#ixzz4jI8D2E5h
Source: MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP / Getty Images
  • 26th July, 2012: Mazurier appeals for bail on several occasions. The bail is denied in the lower court. However, later, in the high court he is granted bail.
  • 17th September, 2012: Pascal Mazurier is officially charged for the rape of his daughter. He once again appeals for a bail.
  • 16th October, 2012: Mazurier released on a bail from the high court for Rs.100,000/  from the Parapanna Agrahara jail.

2013

  • January, 2013: Police files an additional charge sheet against Mazurier, with a detailed report of doctors who said the accused sodomised and raped his daughter for two years.
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  • 17th June, 2013: Mens Rights Activists and other groups including CRISP (http://www.crisp-india.org/) support Mazurier.  Photos of Mazurier appear with MRA community, holding placards saying “ papa loves you” . During this period, Pascal is seen ( based on images found on the web), to be working towards building public sympathy towards him. With the help of Men’s Rights Activist groups, Mazurier moves a petition seeking custody and visitation rights for his three children before the family court. Court grants him visitation rights for the two sons, once a month.
  • 22nd December, 2013: Mazurier continues to work towards building public sympathy towards him. He tells reporters in December 2013, that the "ordeal and ill-treatment" he has faced is comparable to the "humiliation" suffered by Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat who had been strip-searched and arrested in New York.
Source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/131222/news-current-affairs/article/i-was-treated-devyani-here-pascal-mazurier

2014

  • Trial begins in the rape and sodomy case in the Special Court. BT Venkatesh, lawyer, represents Suja Jones.
Source:1.
  • 15th February, 2014: Jones files an application pressing for sodomy charges against Mazurier.
  • 12th March, 2014: Bangalore Court allows sodomy charge against Mazurier.
Source:http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-bangalore-court-allows-sodomy-charge-against-french-consular-official-pascal-mazurier-1968762
  • 16th April, 2014: Mazurier  approaches Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘speedy justice’.
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  • 15th June, 2014:  The Consul general applies to be present at court to ensure that the rights of the accused were respected. (since these are ‘in camera’ proceedings the public is not allowed at the hearings.) . The court allows them to be present. Following this, a member of the consulate was always present in court. (that definitely put pressure on the courts too).

2012 – 2017 Photos of Pascal Mazurier appear on the internet.

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Based on evidence found on the internet, Mazurier seems to have approached various organisations and Men’s Rights Activist groups to garner support.  He claims that he has been ‘framed’ by his wife, who was trying to ‘tarnish (his) career and reputation’ and stop him from leaving for South Africa on a posting.
 He has asked the police to investigate his wife and the actions that she has taken. He says he is a ‘loving father’ who wants to ‘be there’ for his children, and that his wife is trying to take them away from him. He has led several demonstrations demanding his rights of “fatherhood”.
The court refuses to discharge Mazurier, ruling there was sufficient evidence for him to face trial. Judge of the Special Court for child rights Shubha Gouder, framed charges against him, under IPC Section 376 .
On 25th December, 2015, after being granted permission, Mazurier visited his children in the presence of a supervisor.

4. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/519253/pascal-meet-daughter-xmas-wife.html

2017

  • 23rd April, 2017: Mazurier is acquitted for the case on the grounds that he was “falsely implicated” and was innocent. Judge BS Rekha rules that the child had not been abused at all, and that it was a urinary infection that was causing the pain. According to the verdict, Jones is using her child as a ‘weapon’ to stop her husband from leaving the country. Accusing her of being a ‘bad mother’, the verdict goes on to discuss details of Jones’s life, for example: "Her dress sense was objected (to) by the accused. She used to party at home and (has) also taken inappropriate photographs of herself in 2005 when her husband was not at home and the accused was not happy with her behaviour". Jones is determined to challenge this verdict in the Karnataka High Court.  

Timeline prepared by Ananya , Action Hero Intern at Blank Noise, June/ July 2017. Ananya is a student at Azim Premji University. 

Additional resources/ articles