JALUKBARI, Aug 24 - A panel discussion on crime against women and safety measures, was organised by the Department of Business Administration, Gauhati University in collaboration with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited at the Phanidhar Datta Hall, GU today.
In his welcome speech Dr PK Jain, Head of the Department of Business Administration, talked about the impact of the #Me Too campaign, the controversial judgement of the Delhi High Court in the Mahmood Farooqui case, the way in which society traumatises women who fall victim to such crimes and the barbarity of the Khap Panchayat decisions that are prevalent in many parts of the country. He also mentioned the harassments faced by students from their teachers or professors, and cited the example of the movie Pink while referring to the consent of a woman.
Speaking as the chief guest, outgoing GU Vice Chancellor Dr Mridul Hazarika asked the audience to retrospect on how to look after the security and safety of women. He added that, along with incorporating values among the youths, enforcement of the existing laws is also important. He called for sustained efforts to change the mindset of society towards heinous crimes.
Moderator of the panel discussion Dr Polly Vauquline, Department of Women�s Studies, GU, mentioned that crime against women is increasing along with time, and new crimes are coming up like cybercrime, workplace crime, etc. She referred to witch-hunting and resented the fact that the Bill against this social evil is yet to be legalised.
As a panellist, Pawan Tiwari, senior advocate at the Gauhati High Court spoke about the various aspects of law related to crime against women. He mentioned various path-breaking judgements delivered by the Supreme Court of India, specifically related to sections 354, 354(A), 354(B) and 354(C), Domestic Violence Act of 2005 which came into effect in 2006. He made a special mention of the Vishakha judgement of 1999 which provided the first law regarding harassment against women at workplaces. He further added that religion has been used as a tool by some forces to harass women.
Another panellist, Surender Kumar, IGP, CID, Govt. of Assam, talked about the demographic disproportion in terms of the population of Assam (15th among the 29 states of the country) and its ranking in terms of cases registered related to crime against women, where the State ranks 6th from the top. He said many cases do not get reported and hence the offenders cannot be booked for the crimes they commit. He said that in 2017 around 20,000 cases related to crime against women were registered and in 95 per cent of the cases, the offenders were known to the victims. He advocated the need for creating awareness among the masses and also encouraged people to report such crimes as much as possible.
The other panellists, Dr Akashitora Saikia, actress and social activist; Smitakshi Baruah, director, Protidin Time and Professor Archana Sharma, Dept of Economics, GU also highlighted and talked at length about the rising crime and discrimination against women in India and stressed the importance of sex education in the country, which would be a stepping stone towards changing the mindset of the society at large.
Meanwhile, a workshop on self-defence will be conducted at GU on August 25 and 26.