Why this discrimination?
Honour is honour, no matter a woman belongs to a conflict zone or not
MUNEEB JEELANI KHAN
Rape is a heinous crime. In fact, one of the most heinous crimes condemned in harshest terms in almost every society, culture and country. Someone has rightly said that the offence of rape is more gruesome than murder. In murder one simply takes the life of another but in rape one takes another’s life while the victim is still alive. For it makes the victim a living corpse. It is the same heinousness and barbarity of rape especially the last year’s ghastly and gruesome Delhi rape and murder case that galvanized the Indian civil society, legal fraternity and even political class into action to take some serious steps in order to curb this menace against women.
In this backdrop many recommendations and viewpoints came from different quarters as some recommending amendments in criminal law like introduction of fast track courts for speedy trial, more deterrent punishments like chemical castration, and even death penalty to rapists. And this whole process in the form of wide spread public protests and suggestions ultimately resulted in the formation of Justice J.S. Verma committee to make special recommendations to the executive to curb the cancer of crime against women, the ultimate culmination of which came in the form of a promulgation of anti rape ordinance by the president of India.
But what is most shocking and disturbing is that while many recommendations made by Justice Verma Committee have been approved but not the review of AFSPA for the protection of women folk in conflict areas like J&K and northeast made by the same committee. The ordinance is simply silent on AFSPA. Why this criminal silence? On one hand when it comes to the protection of Indian women, the expertise advice of Verma Committee finds its way in the form of an ordinance. But when it comes to the safety of conflict ridden women, the same committee behaves differently. Legal amendments is not a child’s play. These are made only after serious discussions and debate upon a subject and that too when a real and bonafide need is felt for it. When it comes to the safety of Indian women vital steps are taken to rectify the criminal justice system. The Government is ever ready to make amendments both in substantive and procedural laws. To safe guard Indian women IPC, CrPc and Evidence Act cannot remain the same. But when it comes to the dignity of J&K women the establishment is not going to budge even an inch from its adamant stand on AFSPA. And what is most shocking is that J.S. Verma Committee did not recommend amendment of AFSPA in its entirety but only a small section of it, i.e. simply to make armed forces accused in crime against women in conflict areas triable by ordinary courts and not by special military courts.
It had nothing to do with militancy or insurgency. But the Government of India didn’t even bother to consider it. Does it mean then license to rape? Does it grant impunity to those who could have been held accountable. But why this discrimination against the people of J&K? That is the question that disturbs all of us.
(Muneeb Jeelani Khan is Advocate J&K High Court)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 6 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 6 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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