As concerned citizens from Mumbai, across India and around the world, we call on you to give a non-bailable jail sentence to the four men – Jitendra Rana, Sunil Bodh, Satish Dulhaj and Dipak Tival – who have confessed to killing two men who dared to defend their friends against sexual harassment by an intoxicated Rana, and were stabbed in retaliation. The two men murdered -- Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez – were killed for simply doing the right thing. As we seek to build a world where everyone has the ability to occupy public safety freely and safely, these senseless murders are a tremendous setback.
The murders occurred on 20th October 2011. Seven friends went to Amboli Bar and Kitchen in Andheri, Mumbai for dinner and to watch a cricket match, including Keenan Santos, Reuben Fernandez, Priyanka Fernandes and Avinash Bali. As they left the restaurant, a drunk man identified as Jitendra Rana began harassing the girls in the group. Bali and Fernandez confronted and slapped Rana. Soon after, Rana returned with 13 friends and they attacked Santos and Fernandez. Fernandez was stabbed several times and Santos was wrestled to the ground and stabbed repeatedly until he was disemboweled. Priyanka Fernandes and her friends tried to call the police but were unable to reach them. Priyanka telephoned Keenan’s parents who arrived at the hospital shortly before he passed away. Reuben underwent three surgeries but succumbed to his injuries and passed away on 31st October. The four accused - Jitendra Rana, Sunil Bodh, Satish Dulhaj and Dipak Tival - have been arrested under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 302 (murder,) 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons,) 434 (mischief,) 509 (outraging a woman's modesty) and 506 (criminal intimidation.
Sexual harassment in public spaces, or ‘eve teasing’ as it is often called in India is a national and global epidemic. Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez stepped in to defend their friends from this unfortunately common occurrence and were brutally murdered. We call on the Indian judicial system to:
1. Recognize the lives of two brave young men who stood for a country where women can feel safe and respected on the street.
2. Ensure justice is delivered; secure a non-bailable warrant and try this case in a fast-track court.
3. Ensure that witnesses receive proper protection.
4. Ensure mechanisms for proper implementation of the law and proper working of CCTV cameras in the city.
If you stand with us in demanding that the men who murdered Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez should receive a non-bailable jail sentence, please sign this petition, and join the fight at www.mumbai.ihollaback.org.
Aisha Zakira has started this urgent Change.org petition calling for justice -- and together with friends and family of the victims, she’s calling on the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to ensure strong steps are taken to punish those who sexually harass women and to introduce laws to curb sexual harassment in India.
Sign Aisha’s petition at www.mumbai.ihollaback.org and demand strong laws to stop this from happening ever again.
Thanks for taking action,
Tamseel and the Change.org team