Activists for course correction in outrage against gang-rape

Rights activists are now for a course correction so far as the anti-gang rape outrage is concerned. In a day-long deliberation, activists from diverse ideological streams on Wednesday decided to take on “RSS and other forces which are trying to hijack the post-Delhi gang-rape people’s upsurge.”

Senior rights activists like Rajinder Sachar and Kuldip Nayar suggested that Women Reservation Bill to provide reservation to women in legislature should be passed immediately as a tribute to the Delhi gang-rape victim.

The deliberation organised by People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Citizens for Democracy (CFD) touched upon many sides, including legal and social, of rape and other sexual violence.

Dr Gopa Joshi, a Delhi University sociologist took the audience by surprise by commenting that the gathering at Jantar Mantar reminded her of anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and communal riots of Gujarat when people were asking blood for blood. She said that the demand of hanging the culprit is not a good sign and the outrage was devoid of progressive content. “It only reinforced anti-democratic and anti-women ideas,” she said.

Attempt to subvert

SAHMAT activist Shabnam Hashmi accused RSS, ABVP and other organisations of subverting the movement to a right wing direction. She also alleged that media, in connivance with these forces, tried to fix the UPA government.

“They are addressing to their constituency, which is constituted by khap panchayat, feudal India and police. This has started affecting women. The space provided by the outrage was supposed to give freedom; here it has started being curbed,” she said, citing the discussion on dress-code and code of conduct for girls and referred to the utterances of Asaram Bapu and others.

While Kuldip Nayar lauded the youth uprising across the country, he lamented its being apolitical.

Academic Dr Prem Nathan raised the issue of social violence prevalent in India for years and the plight of Dalit women in our society. He said that we have been tolerating such violence. “The basic structure needs to be moderated. We must fight against the undemocratic idea of the society,” he said.  Speaker after speaker, however, talked of changing the mindset along with changes to rape-related laws.

Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Parikh described the flaws in legislations and wanted them to be corrected. 

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