Date: 29 December
GUWAHATI, Dec 29 – Social activists as well as conscientious citizens have condoled the death of the young woman after her brutal assault on a bus in New Delhi and have asked for an urgent overhaul of existing laws and procedures across the country to protect women in public spaces as well as in their homes.
Several individuals and groups in Assam have already condemned the incident, and have demanded strict punishment against the guilty. They have also demanded that the Assam Government take proactive steps to prevent the rise of crime against women, which at present is among the highest in the country according to official records.
Anurita Pathak Hazarika of North East Network (NEN) told this newspaper that it is important to examine the public attitude towards women in the context of various forms of violence. Discrimination against women in any manner should be addressed at various levels with the seriousness that it deserves.
She stated that it is vital for society to recognise that women enjoy equal rights in public spaces as well as in their homes. According to Hazarika, steps must be taken to have a perceptional change and to ensure that the public to have faith in the legal system that also needs to keep up with the times.
NEN is supportive of the Criminal Amendment Bill. But the important element is – ‘How do you define molestation? It is simply a manifestation of sexual assault.’
Society and the authorities concerned need to go beyond ‘archaic definitions’ when it comes to crimes against women. The ambit of the criminal amendment bill should be wide, she added.
The well known activist further mentioned that security forces in the North East have to be covered under any law to protect women and the girl children. ‘Punishment should cover all perpetrators including people in uniform in areas like the Northeast,’ she noted.
She mentioned that several women’s groups will come together at 5.30 pm tomorrow near the Dighalipukhuri seeking better protection for women.