Shruti Ranjan calls for review of Rape Laws

Posted: June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

In a fervent speech made on the floor of the House, Shruti Ranjan, Member of Parliament elected from the Kishanganj district of Bihar, yesterday, drew attention to some bitter home truths through her speech in the House of Parliament. Neither the members of the ruling party, nor those of the opposition, dared to refute or disregard her powerful oratory and passionate appeal for stricter and more victim-sensitive rape laws in the country.

The Edge of Desire

Her angst truly seemed to echo the voice of the innumerable rape victims in the country; many of whom do not even report their rape for fear of being ostracized by society and disowned by their families. Amidst a pandemonium of loud thumping of desks in support of the points made in Shruti’s speech, the Parliament took a unanimous decision to relook at the rape laws in the country and make them relevant to the current times and lifestyles. Increasing the age for consensual sex, making rape laws gender neutral by bringing sexual assault of boys under the purview of the law, changing the narrow definition of what legally constitutes ‘rape’ and broadening it to include all forms of sexual assault and violence, were some of the issues raised and discussed as a consequence of Shruti’s powerful address to the House.  Being an unfortunate victim of rape herself, Shruti threw light on the hardships that victims faced and unabashedly described a first-hand account of the insensitive treatment meted out to a victim who shows the courage to report the crime against her and seek justice against its perpetrators.

The session ended with the Home Minister stepping in and assuring the house that the culprit would be meted the severest possible punishment.

A CBI enquiry has been ordered into the matter with a demand to complete the investigation on a priority basis and submit a report within 90 days.

Here is an excerpt from the speech that moved the Parliament into taking the almost instantaneous decision that rape laws in India needed serious reconsideration.

‘Honourable Speaker, Ma’am, we need to initiate a massive campaign to ensure that rape cases are reported. Police officials, especially in rural areas, who hush up these cases, ought to be sacked. The police is a protector. If it becomes the broker, then it abets such crimes with its complicity. Police officials who have shielded rapists or not lodged an FIR should be made co-accused.

Ma’am, my rape has proved that anybody can become a victim of this heinous crime. I would think I am reasonably well-educated. As the wife of an IAS officer, as much as I may not have acknowledged it, I think I enjoy a reasonable clout. Yet I met a fate that was no different from what thousands of women, especially in our rural regions suffer in silence.

Ma’am, as a victim and sufferer I know what it means to be a rape victim. I can thus feel the physical and emotional trauma of every woman who has suffered the crime. I find it absolutely despicable that men who worship a Durga or a Lakshmi at home do not blink before subjecting the embodiments of the same goddesses to this act of ultimate cruelty. Since our society has failed to fix the problem, honourable sir, I would hereby propose a radical legal solution.

Ma’am, India today needs fast-track or tatkaal courts specifically and solely to deal with crimes against women. Each of the 626 districts of the country ought to have a tatkaal court that clears cases pertaining to crime against women. These courts should settle each case not later than six months from the date of start of the trial. That, to the best of my opinion and knowledge, sir, is the only way India can change her unsavoury reputation of being the most unsafe country in the world for the girl-child.’ 

For further details about the result of the case against Salim Yadav and the course of Shruti’s life-altering journey into the world of politics, you can read Tuhin’s latest novel ‘The Edge of Desire.’ Buy a copy now.

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