Implement Verma report in its entirety, activists demand

Women’s rights activists and students will gather at Jantar Mantar on February 21, the first day of budget session of Parliament, demanding that Justice Verma’s recommendations to curb sexual violence is implemented in their its entirety.

Justice Verma committee was constituted by the central government after a 23-year-old physiotherapy trainee was gang raped in Delhi on December 16.

‘An eyewash’

“The government’s ordinance against sexual violence is an eyewash as it overturns and rejects every recommendation of the Justice Verma Committee that seeks to safeguard women’s autonomy,”said Kavita Krishnan, an activist, at a press conference.

“It sought to end the impunity enjoyed by powerful rapists, and ensure accountability on part of the police,” added Krishnan.

“The ordinance makes sure that the laws continue to protect politicians, police and army officers, and bureaucrats, who are accused of rape and sexual violence,” she added.

“The ordinance is also lenient towards police officers who fail to file FIRs in cases of sexual violence,” she said.

Activists further demanded to ban the two finger test on rape victims.

“There should be medical test, however checking if the rape victim had past sexual experiences through the two finger test has nothing to do with her being raped,” added Krishnan.

“The Supreme Court has also stated that past sexual history of a rape victim should not be part of the medical test. Justice Verma committee recommendations also asked for a ban of this test which was rejected by the government,” said Krishnan.

The activists informed that a petition with 20,000 signatures from people across the world, demanding prohibition of the two-finger test for rape, has been submitted to the home minister, law minister, women and child minister, minister for health and family welfare, as well as the United Nations Special Rappor-teur on Violence Against Women.

Moral policing

At the press conference, a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) questioned the recent advertisement by Delhi government on health education which blamed immoral sex for cervical cancer with images of people kissing and a skirt-clad girl being stalked by a man.

“Why is the government promoting moral policing in the name of health education. We want the government to stop worrying about women’s morality and implement
the Verma Committee recommendations to protect women’s autonomy,” said Radhika.
The activists also demanded resignation of P J Kurien, deputy speaker of Rajya Sabha, who is accused in the Suryanelli gang rape case of Kerala.

“How can a man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl be allowed to preside over discussions of rape laws for women?” asked an activist.

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