AGAINST RISING CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN
17 Jan 2008
The All India Democratic Women’s Association expresses its deep concern at the fact that the recently released National Crime Records Bureau data shows that incidents of violence against women, inside the home and in the public sphere are increasing. Registered cases of rape, a grossly underestimate crime, have increased by 5.5% between 2005 and 2006 with the capital, Delhi, reporting 4134 cases of rape in 2006 alone. This trend shows no sign of abating as 2008 has already witnessed outrageous assaults on young girls in cities like Mumbai and Chennai and in rural areas. Two incidents of the rape and murder of young girls in rural Maharashtra have also been committed recently. There has also been a spate of cases of rape and molestation of single female foreign tourists in Goa, Rajasthan, U.P. etc.
The Dept. of Women and Child Development has reacted by promising to make the punishment for molestation more stringent but this does not really address the problem. The responsibility of the law enforcement agencies and the judicial system has to be seriously addressed. In this context, the Government’s procrastination over introduction of a comprehensive Bill against Sexual Assault after it was presented to them and recommended by the NCW over 2 years ago is untenable. AIDWA along with other women’s groups and the National Commission for Women have drafted a comprehensive Bill dealing with rape, molestation, and sexual harassment, on the streets, within homes etc. The proposed Bill suggests changes to the present definition of molestation and so called “eve teasing” which are archaic and patriarchal in nature. Suggestions include the introduction of offences like incest, persistent sexual assault and stalking in the Bill, and guidelines to render procedural law more gender sensitive have been formulated. The amendments seek to introduce procedural changes to make investigation and the trial more effective and time-bound. The Government’s attitude is responsible for the fact that the conviction rate on rape cases continues to be abysmally low.
AIDWA demands that the Govt. immediately introduce the amendments and legislation proposed by AIDWA and NCW and move towards providing legal safeguards for women in all spheres.