GUWAHATI, Jan 9 � Even after the December 16 Delhi gangrape incident that brought the spotlight on the condition of women and prompted stricter legal action against the perpetrators of sexual offences, Assam presents a very pathetic scenario in terms of implementation of the new laws for the protection of women and girl child.
A two-day State level public hearing on sexual violence organized in Guwahati where 21 cases were deposed of, has brought out shocking revelations that has necessitated an overhaul of the judicial mechanism to ensure that the victims get immediate aid as per the latest legal provisions.
The public hearing conducted by Women in Governance (WinG-India), was on gangrape, molestation, voyeurism, acid attack, marital rape, sexual assault and state-induced sexual violence covering Cachar, Kamrup, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Nagaon, Dibrugarh, Mangaldoi and Dima Hasao.
The findings of the jury point to the abysmal ignorance of a section of judicial magistrates and session judges about the procedures to be followed while dealing with such cases in the backdrop of the recent developments in the legal sphere.
�There seems to be a conspiracy between the police officials, Child Welfare Committees, Legal Services Authority in silencing the victim and the inaction (purposeful neglect) which ultimately aims at protecting the accused,� the interim report of the public hearing says.
The report says that all the cases highlighted the appalling laxity and apathy of all the mechanisms and systems responsible for providing relief and justice to the affected individuals. In most cases of sexual violence against minor girls the Child Welfare Committee had failed to address the cases to the best of their power and capacity. Out of the 21 cases, 8 cases demanded to be dealt under the POSCO Act but it was not done. �The filing of case under the POSCO Act ensures that the new offences of sexual assault against children are registered and a more stringent punishment is given to the accused under the law. But in the 8 cases that we heard, POSCO was not invoked,� said another jury member Henri Tiphagne.
The report further says that the different commissions like the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, Assam State Commission for Women, Schedule Tribe Commission etc, have been grossly negligent in following up on the cases submitted to them or failed to make timely intervention.