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Posted at: Jun 9, 2018, 11:46 AM; last updated: Jun 9, 2018, 11:46 AM (IST)THOUGHTFULLY YOURS

Mindset makeover need of the hour to ensure women’s safety

Mindset makeover need of the hour to ensure women’s safety

Naveen S Garewal

Haryana urgently needs mindset makeover to safeguard the honour and dignity of women. National campaigns such as "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" have led to some improvement in gender ratio, but four years after its launch coupled with strong anti-rape laws have failed to curb continuing crimes against women and girl child. There is something inherently wrong in the way some perverted men behave and think in the state that is otherwise full of tales of valour and bravado. Despite provisioning death penalty for the rape of a minor, there is no letup in ubiquitous incidents of sexual atrocities against women and girls.

The nation was shocked when the Nirbhaya incident came to light, forcing governments to have a re-look at anti-rape laws and make the criminal procedure so stringent that even molestation got a new definition. It was hoped then that things would improve. A committee headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Verma, recommended stringent punishment for sexual offences, giving women hope of a life of dignity. Parliament adopted most recommendations, made on the basis of 80,000 suggestions by people, in the form of legislation in March 2013. The Haryana Government moved a step ahead and prescribed death for the rape of a minor. But there appears to be no impact of this on the minds of perverts.

Not a day passes in Haryana when sexual assault incidents are not reported. This week, the rape and murder of a six-year-old in Yamunanagar shocked the sensibilities of even "macho" Haryanvi men. A colleague of the victim's father, a migrant searching for a labour job, kidnapped her and raped her thrice before murdering her. His devilish acts cannot even be mentioned; he injected into her substances used to sedate horses. When he was arrested, he showed no remorse of wrongdoing. The rape of another minor reported from Fatehabad two days ago was dismissed as a lesser crime. 

There is a kind of lethargy set into the Haryana Police that they treat a gruesome sexual offence as "another incident". Perturbed over sexual overtures of her teacher, a girl jumped into the canal near Nissing in Karnal. Luckily, she was saved by vigilant passersby. In Gurugram, a Kenyan woman was raped. Unfortunately, when a crime takes place the entire focus of the media and the police shifts to the victim and the accused manages to duck all shame. 

Haryana tops the nation in sexual crimes and crime against women. A few of Haryana cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) figure in the list of most unsafe places in the country for women. Incidentally, after Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh that shares border with Haryana has recorded the highest rapes in the country, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Gangsters and anti-social elements from Uttar Pradesh 

commit crimes in Haryana that has become a safe haven for them.

According to the NCRB, four out of 10 rape victims are minor and know the accused. There is need for stringent implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act that also requires setting up of child-friendly courts, improving infrastructure in existing courts and ensuring quick disposal of cases where trial is run on day-to-day basis. Besides legislation, public shaming of culprits can bring some hope of women's safety.


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