Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat on Monday agreed with the Supreme Court’s statement that the justice and law and order mechanism for rape is going from bad to worse, and added that the dismal rates of conviction and outrageous political statements are the reason that criminals are not deterred by the law.
The gang rape of a 23 year-old photojournalist in Mumbai proved that there was lax approach in law enforcing agencies, she felt. “The fact that in spite of a law which was passed unanimously in Parliament, you have a police force which is still not doing its duty. After the incident the Bombay Police has moved and it has arrested the criminals within a short period of time. But the issue here is that following up the case and investigating cases of sexual assault, in taking the case to court and insuring convictions—both, the police and the judicial system—are going from bad to worse. There’s absolutely no doubt about it,” Karat said.
Karat also lashed out at the politicians in the country who have, in the past, defended the brutal crimes against women. “You have the most dismal rates of conviction in this country. If people are not fearful of the law, if they think they can get away with it, well then this is a direct encouragement,” Karat said.
“Along with that, the kind of outrageous and atrocious statements being made by people in power, including certain members of Parliament who want to justify the crime by blaming the woman and the victim—that is also an encouragement to criminals to commit these dastardly and heinous crimes,” she added.
The CPI(M) leader, who is presently the vice-president of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), suggested that to strike the violence against women at its root the education system in the country must include the issue in its curriculum.
“I certainly think the education system has to include the issue of women’s sexual autonomy, it has to include the issue of women’s rights, it has to include the issue of how boys and girls need to behave, it has to include education for boys and for young men,” Karat said
“That is absolutely essential because, at present, there are increasing sections who just seeing a girl or a woman in a public space gives you the licence to misbehave with her. Now, this is something that is just totally unacceptable,” she added.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court of India resonated the sentiment of the national protest against rape, after a young photojournalist was brutally gang raped in Mumbai on Thursday. "What is wrong with the system? Why are 90 percent of rape cases ending in acquittals? The situation is going from bad to worse," the judges said. "Why is it (rape) happening again and again? That too only in metropolitan cities?" the judges added.
Meanwhile, the family of the photojournalist who was gang raped by five persons inside an unused mill last week, has thanked the public for their support, and sought the severest punishment for the accused.
In a statement issued here, they said: "Now that stringent laws are in place, we are optimistic that your and the government's efforts will help fast track the matter so that the severest of punishment is meted out. This will ensure that even the most sick-minded think twice before they act in such an inhuman and insensitive way.
The statement came after Mumbai Police confirmed that they had arrested all of the five accused. Four of them have been sent to judicial custody till August 30. Salim Ansari, 27, was arrested in Delhi on Sunday and brought back to Mumbai late last night.
The gang rape of the photo-journalist has provoked anger and comparisons with the fatal gang-rape of a young student on a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012. According to media reports, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has promised that the case will be fast-tracked. He has asked noted criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam to appear as public prosecutor in the case.