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Indian rape report wants army’s immunity removed

Publication Date : 24-01-2013

 

An official report commissioned by the Indian government to suggest ways to better protect women against sexual violence urged New Delhi to remove the army’s immunity from criminal prosecution in troubled areas like Jammu and Kashmir.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice J.S. Verma proposing a gamut of measures to protect women said the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), used with impunity to protect troops in India’s volatile regions like Kashmir and Manipur be abolished.

The report, prompted by the brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi last month, listed several measures and critiqued the poor implementation of existing laws to support and empower women against male violence.

Seeing an “imminent need to review AFSPA in conflict areas”, the report said: “Sexual offences by armed forces and uniformed men in conflict areas should be brought under ordinary criminal law.”

The report recommended the appointment of Special Commissioners with adequate powers to redress complaints of sexual violence against women in conflict areas.

Turning to the horrific violence inflicting on the woman and her male companion by six men in a moving bus, the report said the incident showed the failures of traffic regulations, maintenance of law and order and dealing of sexual assault cases. Every district magistrate should prepare census of missing children, Justice Verma said.

He complimented the youth for the mature response to the outrage. “Youth has taught us what we, the older generation, were not aware of. I was struck by the peaceful manner in which the protests were carried out…the youth rose to the occasion,” he said.

 

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