(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 04, 2012
ANTI-WOMEN CRIMES ON UPSWING
CPI(M) Protestors Accuse Enforcement Agencies
October 30, 2012, several hundred
activists of the
dharna was addressed by CPI(M) general
secretary Prakash Karat, its
Prakash Karat pointed to the big increase in the cases of rapes and sexual violence against women throughout the country in the recent past. Children and young women have been the biggest victims. Governments throughout the country have not only failed to tackle these cases; in many instances the administration, police and state machinery actually ensure that the victim is not even able to lodge a complaint. There is thus an urgent need of an effective law against sexual harassment. However, successive central governments have failed to enact any such legislation. The CPI(M) would continue to mount pressure on the UPA government to ensure that such a bill is enacted in the winter session of the parliament, Karat added. He, however, stressed that laws alone would not be enough to curb violence against women. Simultaneously, there is an urgent need to combat the retrograde and anti-women values that pervade our society.
ON AN INCREASE
Various speakers pointed the need to take this issue right to the level of mohallas and ensure effective resistance to these regressive acts of violence.
Later a memorandum concerning the increasing violence against women was submitted to Sushil Kumar Shinde, the union minister of home affairs.
Expressing deep concern over the alarming rise in instances of violence and heinous sexual crimes against women and girls in the country, the memorandum of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said this accretion was largely due to increasing crimes against women in states like West Bengal (particularly after the TMC government assuming office), Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and in mega cities like Delhi and Bengaluru. This in turn highlights the negligence of the central and state governments towards safety of women and girls. It also underscores the importance of increasing accountability and efficiency of law enforcement agencies in dealing with such crimes.
The report of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) shows that 2.28 lakh incidents of crimes against women were recorded in 2011, which was an increase of 7.1 per cent in the one year alone. In 2010, the recorded instances of violence against women were 4.8 per cent more than in 2009. Thus the rate of increase of these crimes in 2011 was 2.3 per cent more than that recorded in 2010. Within this overall increase, the incidents of rape increased by 9.7 per cent and kidnapping by 19.7 per cent in the five years between 2007 and 2011.
NEGLIGENCE OF LAW
A big reason for such a sharp rise in violence against women is that of negligence of law enforcement agencies and low rates of conviction that only encourage the perpetrators of such crimes. Delays in filing complaints and investigations are common in most cases of molestation and abduction, which are the fastest growing crimes in the country.
In 2011, for instance, no investigation was done in 36.6 per cent of the recorded instances of rape; final investigation reports were only filed in 20 per cent of the cases. In about 40 per cent of the cases of abduction and kidnapping of women no action was taken whereas the investigations beyond the chargesheeting stage proceeded in only 13.5 per cent of the cases. In sexual harassment cases, investigations were only completed in 2.8 per cent of the cases. Such delays and negligence have resulted in low conviction rates. Thus it is a crying shame that over 75 per cent of the rape accused walk free. In cases of abduction of women and children, conviction took place only in 3.8 per cent of the total cases in which trials are completed. In all, about 80 to 90 per cent cases of rape, dowry deaths, molestation under section 498A, abduction and kidnapping are pending in the trial courts.
Political protection to those accused of crimes against women has emboldened them and others in carrying out these crimes. Further, no action is taken against the leaders of the ‘khap panchayats’ who have been openly justifying ‘honour killings.’
Various politicians, officials and even judges regularly try to shift blame for the violence against women on to the victims. The response of state governments like that of Haryana in this context has also been totally inadequate. In some cases known political figures have blamed the media for giving undue coverage to cases of rape and sexual assault, and brushed aside instances of crimes against women as being a political conspiracy. Such statements add insult to injury, demean the victims and are condemnable.
In view of such a state of affairs, the CPI(M) has demanded that the central government take serious note of the alarming increase in violence and heinous sexual crimes against women and girls in the country. It has asked the government to ensure the following:
1) Speedy passage of the Bill for the Prevention of Sexual Assault in the Workplace, with amendments suggested by the CPI(M) members of parliament.
2) Setting up of fast track courts to provide speedy justice in rape and all other cases of sexual harassment and domestic violence.
3) Time bound action plan by all state governments to deal with pending cases of crimes against women.
4) Preventive measures by the central and state governments to stem the increase in the rates of crimes against women.
5) Accountability of and punishment to the police officials guilty of delaying the filing of an FIR.
6) Punishment to those providing political and social protection to the accused.
What NCRB Report Says
* 2.28 lakh incidents of crimes against women were recorded in 2011--- an increase of 7.1 per cent in one year.
* Within the overall trend of increase in crimes against women, incidents of rape increased by 9.7 per cent and of kidnapping by 19.7 per cent in the five years between 2007 and 2011.
* Sexual assaults on children under 14 years have been as high as 10 per cent of the total.
Big cities like
* Neglect by law enforcement agencies and low conviction rates encourage perpetrators of such crimes. Delays in filing complaints and in investigations are common.
* In 2011, no investigation was done in 36.6 per cent of the recorded instances of rape.
* No action was taken in about 40 per cent of cases of abduction and kidnapping of women.
* Over 75 per cent of the rape accused walk free.
* Political protection to those accused of crimes against women has emboldened them and others in carrying out these crimes, e.g. in Deepika Case.
* No action is taken against the leaders of ‘khap panchayats’ which have been openly justifying ‘honour killings.’
* Politicians, officials and even judges blame the victims – dress, mobiles, loose character etc are the usual excuses held out. Om Prakash Chautala even argued that rapes can be curbed by lowering the age of marriage!
Response of state governments like
Haryana is totally inadequate. Similarly,
* State and central governments are guilty of not setting up effective mechanisms to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace even 14 years after the Vishakha judgement.