Friday, June 14, 2024
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Compromise in rape cases intolerable: NCW chief

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By Ibankyntiew Mawrie

 SHILLONG: The trend of rape accused and the concerned victim coming to an understanding to forego the crime cannot be tolerated, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) Mamta Sharma said.

In an interview with The Shillong Times, Sharma said that the trend of ‘reaching a compromise’ by the victim and the accused is not justified and cannot be accepted.

“To reach at a compromise is not justified and the victim herself cannot compromise at any cost. In fact, they should fight and get the accused arrested and punished for the crime,” she reiterated.

Despite having a matrilineal set up, Meghalaya is facing a peculiar problem of an unusual rise in crimes against women in the last few years and this is due to lack of implementation of prevailing laws and regulations, Sharma observed.

“The law is there and it is very strong but due to lack of implementation of these laws, women are facing problems,” she said.

The NCW Chairperson asserted that the police should be sensitized on such issues concerning women as they play an important role in providing relief to the female victims.

When asked whether the respective governments are implementing the NCW suggestion to contain crime, Sharma said the state commissions and the national commission are autonomous bodies and since the commissions were formed by the government, they are accountable.

“Since the Central government through the Ministry of Women and Child Development is pouring in funds for running the state commissions, they also take up suggestions forwarded by us,” she said.

It may be noted that the Meghalaya Government, on August 30 this year, notified the Meghalaya Victim Compensation Scheme 2011 whereby Rs 50,000 would be provided for maximum limit of compensation for rape victims and Rs 25,000 for injuries causing severe mental agony for the victims. However, as per the latest assessment, it has been noticed that there have been few takers for the scheme.

Reacting to this, Sharma said the government should not only create more awareness on the scheme so that the victims can avail this but also stress on the need to enlighten the women on the prevailing laws, rights and schemes.

She rued the fact that most of the womenfolk in the rural areas are still hesitant to approach the police or the court of law to demand justice.

“Lack of education and awareness are the main reasons why women are afraid to approach the police or the court because they still hold the idea that the same involves a lot of money. To change this mindset, we should touch the rural areas and the block level,” she stated. Commenting on the delay in providing medical reports to the rape victims after their medical examinations which often leads to delays in following up the case, the NCW Chairperson said one should check that the concerned medical practitioner is a person without any ‘black mark’ in his/her report and if there is any hidden agenda then the concerned medical practitioner should be punished as per law.

Stressing on the trend of delayed justice to rape victims, Sharma said, “This trend is happening everywhere in the country and to tackle this problem the police and the fast track courts should be efficient enough and work fast on such cases to prevent the accused from getting a chance to walk away with bail and tamper with the evidences.”

When apprised on the alarming trend in the State involving the rape of minors, Sharma said it is a big social problem and to tackle this, the mindset of the society should change. “This is a problem which should be handled jointly by the Social Welfare department, police, educational institutions, NGOs, headmen, church bodies and the likes,” she added.

On the prevalence of rape cases involving relatives like father, uncle or brother, Sharma said, “This is also one of the problems which has cropped up in our society and awareness should be very strong; keeping the girls and police alert every time besides providing counseling to the girls in schools and colleges.”

Commenting on the issue of trafficking of women which is prevalent in the State, the NCW Chairperson said the government and the police should be very vigilant and keep a close watch at every check points especially in the border areas, bus stands and railway stations among others.

Sharma echoed the statement made by the Chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission, Roshan Warjri, on the need to empower the commission with more judicial powers, saying that the state commissions have civil powers only. “At present, we only have the power to summon the accused and if there is any problem, we send letters to the government and the matter is then entrusted to the police. I think there should be more powers vested upon the commission to make our judgments stronger and to ensure justice to the victims,” she added.

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