Include AFSPA

The ordinance on sexual assault signed into law by President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday has raised many questions about the intentions of the UPA government in redressing the problem that caused a countrywide rage and brought thousands of youth on the streets.   By not adopting the Justice Verma report in its totality  the Union Cabinet has not been just and fair to the aspirations of millions of youth, more particularly women, who had seen  a hope of sex-harassment free society in the report. Calling the report by three-member commission as ‘labor of love’ Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh in his letter had assured Justice J.S. Verma that the government would be promptly persuading these recommendations. The assurance had made people believe that a draft law in total conformity with recommendation will be tabled in the Parliament in the coming winter session. The most unfortunate part of the ordinance has been that it has largely diluted the recommendations of the Verma Committee and it has not addressed the real issue specifically mentioned by the committee.  Some activists have rightly raised their voices against the ordinance for ‘making sexual offences gender-neutral not mentioning about marital rape and debarring politicians facing charges of sexual abuse.  Instead of looking at the recommendation contained in the report with open mind and keeping larger interests of the society in view, the government has put into the ordinance only the least controversial recommendations to avoid any criticisms from the opposition.  To placate the BJP and other extremists Hindutva organizations it also skipped one the most important recommendations made by the committee regarding AFSPA.  Asserting that there was an imminent need to review the continuance of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir and North East the report had recommended number of measures for protection of womenfolk in these troubled areas. It had also recommended need for putting a mechanism for taking action against military and paramilitary forces in conflict zones found guilty of sexual assault on women. The judicial panel had called for amendment in the section (6) of AFSPA to pave way for prosecution of soldiers involved in crimes against women in civil courts. To ensure the revocation of AFSPA and its inclusion in the bill on assault on women there is need for sustained campaign by civil society in India before the ordinance is put before the parliament.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST

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