Friday, January 08, 2010

Government making efforts to quash sex crimes in India

India is (slowly) awaking to a reality - sexual abuse exists everywhere in India and we need stronger laws to punish the criminals and to protect innocent victims! The Ruchika Girhotra's case has brought a lot of attention to the IPC treatment of crimes like rape, abuse, etc. Thanks to the frenzy created by the media (some news channels did 24 hours exclusives on the issue!) the government is talking about making stricter rules and promising to implement them with conviction.
A new law has been proposed (awaiting the cabinet nod) which makes the following changes:

  • Physical and mental harassment would be considered sexual abuse and would be treated on par with rape

  • The accused has to prove his/her innocence in case he/she is blamed for a suicide resulting out of a case of sexual harrassment

  • The cases of sexual harrassment are to be dealt by special courts, expected to be cleared within 6 months

This law, if implemented in full measure, would certainly discourage such shameful acts and empower the fairer sex. The government's stance on such crimes before has not been very comforting - the maximum punishment for a case of abuse is 1 year! But, in the light of new cases coming up which involve decorated officers and senior officials like Rathore, the government is quick to react assertively.
A change in the mentality of people also needs to be advocated vehemently. The Indian society (specially in the rural areas) has been ridiculed for treating the victims of abuse like criminals which leads to acts like suicides and honour killings! Acceptance of victims of all types of abuse in the main stream and more importantly within their families is the need of the hour. A progressive government which has advocated even homosexual relationships can bring about a change in the mindset of people but above all the support from the people is required.

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