Bonjour, Mr Hollande! Welcome to Delhi!
Will you take time to meet the mother of a four-year-old French citizen who was raped in Bangalore? Her mother has sought an audience with you during your visit to India
Harsh Kapoor and Marieme Helie Lucas Delhi
Editor's Note: In a press conference in Delhi after this article was published, the French President said that he is willing to meet a representative of the mother of the girl child who was allegedly raped. "My office would meet representatives of the mother of the alleged rape victim if asked. I trust Indian justice system," he said.
Your visit to India was recently preceded by a tour to Algeria. If you recall in 1962 Simone de Beauvoir coauthored with Gisele Halimi a very powerful book Djamila Boupacha: The Story of the Torture of a Young Algerian Girl. This had shocked and shaken liberal opinion in France of the early sixties. Her very fine intervention for citizen's internationalism and for women's rights everywhere came to symbolise a progressive image of France.
Delhi recently witnessed a huge outpouring of citizens protest against the rape of a 23 year old and against violence against women and girls. It was wonderful to see during these protests some posters carried quotations from the great Simone de Beauvoir on patriarchy and sexualised violence.
Some of us had been heartened when we heard that Malala Yousufzai the young champion for girl's education in Pakistan had been honored with the Simone de Beauvoir Award by feminists in France and that the French Foreign Minister Fabius had found the time for a formal meeting with the girl's father.
In keeping with this fine tradition, will you take time to meet the mother of a four year old French citizen who was raped in Bangalore? Her mother has sought an audience with you during your visit in India.
One of your 'conseillers' did spend time with the father's lawyers at the Elysee Palace last week - a father who is accused of rape of his daughter and awaits trial: you may want to redress this terrible imbalance in the handling of this human rights case . . .
Not so long ago, you campaigned for President as a 'president normal', i.e. somebody who feels and behaves like any other citizen. Let us tell you, we ordinary citizens from France and India don't feel it is 'normal' to give less importance to the victim than to the person accused of the crime. Even in view of the fact that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
In fact we even find it shockingly outrageous.
The girl child is definitely a victim. Could France, via its President, show some concern about her and her rights?
The French Consulate in Bangalore, where the accused was employed, displayed over the past seven months such massive concern for the accused father and provided him extensive support in so many ways - and none to the child and her aggrieved mother and siblings - that some concerned citizens of both India and France have come together to raise issues. Among other things, they question the following facts, we quote :