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Fast-track courts for rape circumstances solely answer for justice, says ex-J&Okay girls fee chief as sexual crimes rise in Kashmir – India News , Firstpost


Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi says she continues to obtain complaints from distressed girls even a yr after the J&Okay State Women Commission was abolished by the governnment

It has been round 16 months for the reason that Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Women was abolished following the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union territories, but the final chairperson of the fee, Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi, continues to obtain complaints by way of emails, calls, and messages from distressed girls.

With the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, greater than 150 legal guidelines, together with the one which ruled the functioning of the State Commission for Women and Child Rights, had been repealed. More than a yr has handed, nevertheless, no step has been taken to determine a girls’s fee within the Union Territory.

Since there is no such thing as a platform for the ladies in Jammu and Kashmir to register their complaints, Masoodi, a  senior lawyer on the Supreme Court, has been receiving complaints from victims of home violence and sexual harassment.

In an in depth interview with Bisma Bhat, Masoodi talks concerning the rise in incidents of violence towards girls and the significance of a girls’s fee within the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Edited excerpts of the interview are as comply with:

It has been over a yr for the reason that Jammu and Kashmir State Women’s Commission was dissolved. Being the final chairperson of the then girls’s fee, do you continue to obtain complaints from victims?

Unfortunately, the Jammu and Kashmir State Women’s Commission was dissolved with out placing a new mechanism in place for over a yr now. Nevertheless, I’ve been receiving complaints from victims belonging to totally different areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

What type of complaints do you often obtain from girls?

The complaints differ in nature. I not solely acquired complaints towards home violence, but in addition towards sexual harassment at office, little one abuse, gender-based discrimination, and medical negligence.

On common what number of calls do you obtain per thirty days?

Ever for the reason that closure of the J&Okay Women’s Commission, on a median, each month my workplace has been receiving round 5-10 complaints by way of calls, electronic mail, private messages and social media.

Did you assist these girls in misery, and the way?

I took up the matter with related authorities wherever it was warranted. I additionally prolonged my assist to the victims by way of counselling. By counselling I imply, the availability of authorized/skilled help and steering in resolving private or psychological issues brought on because of the act of violence, wherever we deemed it crucial.

What are you able to inform us about victims of gender-based and sexual violence in Jammu and Kashmir? Do they belong to a explicit socio-economic group?

It has been noticed that girls and women from socially and economically deprived teams, rural or far off areas are extra weak and are at larger danger of gender-based violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Comparing the rape circumstances which have occurred prior to now few years with the current circumstances of rape, we will conclude that ladies and women who belong to the marginalised sections of the society or those that stay in areas that aren’t simply accessible are extra vulnerable to gender-based and sexual violence.

Kashmir was thought of a secure place for girls, nevertheless it has been seeing a rise in crimes towards girls. There have been experiences of gang-rape circumstances as nicely. What could possibly be the primary causes for this?

A current report submitted by the federal government within the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir revealed that 16 circumstances of rape, 64 circumstances of molestation and one case of eve-teasing had been reported within the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the course of the lockdown interval (April to September). These are the circumstances that bought reported, and I’m positive the quantity is far more than what has been reported. Jammu and Kashmir is predominantly a hilly space whereby it is troublesome for girls to succeed in out to regulation and order companies to report such crimes in regular circumstances, for sure, issues apparently turned a lot troublesome for the victims in the course of the lockdown.

There has additionally been an unprecedented upsurge in gangrapes and rapes of minor women by kin and neighbours that typically lead to tragic deaths. There have additionally been circumstances whereby girls have been raped by their shut kin or an acquaintance. By and enormous, the explanations for the rise in such circumstances are not any totally different from these reported in different states. Lack of deterrence, low conviction, lengthy drawn out authorized proceedings, monetary constraints, societal stress and unwillingness to report are a few of the important causes due to which circumstances of sexual violence proceed to occur unabashedly.

You talked about extended judicial course of as one of many elements for the rise in circumstances of violence towards girls. Why does it take years to announce a call in such circumstances?

There is a well-known authorized saying: “Justice delayed is justice denied”. Definitely, the delay in dispensation of justice in circumstances of rape and sexual offences, which finally leads to low conviction price, is likely one of the most vital elements behind the spiralling of such circumstances. Because of sure loopholes within the felony justice system, the accused is acquitted on the finish of the day thereby making a mockery and irritating the aim of your complete felony justice system.

Shortages of forensic labs, fast-track courts, well-trained investigators, lackadaisical method by the prosecution, and delay in submitting of charge-sheet, improper dealing with of forensic proof, undesirable adjournments are a few of the causes that trigger such delay.

Due to the delay, essential proof will get spoilt or is tempered with and infrequently the witnesses both disappear or flip hostile. At instances, the victims and their households run out of sources, therefore the acquittal of the accused.

I strongly advocate the institution of quick monitor courts to attempt such circumstances so the circumstances may attain their logical conclusion on the earliest and the sufferer might not need to undergo any additional trauma on account of a delay within the trial.

How essential was the State Women’s Commission for the protection of girls and little one rights in Jammu and Kashmir?

The Jammu and Kashmir State Commission For Protection of Women and Child Rights (JKSCPWCR) was a masterpiece of laws that conjointly offered for the safety of girls and little one rights. Some of the essential powers of the fee included, however not limiting to, investigation of issues regarding constitutional and authorized safeguards for girls and kids, taking over circumstances of violations of rights of girls and kids, to examine houses, jails, hospitals and different locations the place girls and kids are lodged or saved or imprisoned.

The biggest potential for intervention, personally my favorite, was the ability to look into complaints and “take suo-motu cognisance” of violation of rights. The JKSCPWCR Act offered for all of the powers of a civil courtroom together with that to summon an individual from any a part of Jammu and Kashmir, to require the manufacturing of paperwork, require proof on affidavits, entry to public information and the ability of “issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents”.

The dynamism of the workplace of the chairperson of the fee coupled with the aforesaid powers and thru its members and civil society organisations can attain out to individuals on the grassroots to make sure the implementation of welfare legal guidelines in letter and spirit.

Do you assume regulation imposing companies ought to play a more practical function in stopping these crimes?

Strict implementation of legal guidelines by regulation enforcement companies is an especially essential consider clamping down on such ignoble crimes. The function of law-enforcement companies begins the second against the law is reported until the felony is prosecuted and punished. Any comfortable or sluggish method or negligence by way of conducting an investigation, amassing proof or recording statements of credible witnesses, delay in submitting the charge-sheet can result in an unlucky acquittal of the offender and denial of justice to victims.

Moreover, the entire function of legal guidelines towards sexual violence is annoyed if justice is just not delivered in time. The judiciary has the first duty of imposing basic rights by way of constitutional treatments. Therefore, the trial in such circumstances ought to be run and concluded on a fast-track foundation in order that victims of sexual violence aren’t denied justice on account of undesirable and unwarranted delays.

What ought to governments do to cease crimes towards girls?

I personally really feel that crime towards girls and kids could possibly be curtailed to a substantial extent if we chart out a method whereby we focus equally on crime prevention and post-crime treatments.

There can’t be a bullet shot method in stopping such crimes as the foundation of such crimes lie within the mindset which is constructed over years. Hence, moreover creating stringent provisions of regulation, there have to be a complete technique to infuse and inculcate virtues of morality in younger boys by involving them in varied sorts of workshops and orientation programmes whereby significance and function of women and girls in numerous capacities have to be taught to them regularly.

Simultaneously, there ought to be the provision of secure areas at public locations, fast and swift crime response system, analysis on attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours of males and boys, in addition to younger individuals, associated to numerous types of violence. There must also be provisions for elevating consciousness, group mobilization, and academic programmes, in addition to authorized and coverage reforms, and widespread consciousness of sexual violence legal guidelines by way of print media, digital media and social media.

Unfortunately, regardless of a lot water has flown beneath the bridge, we now have but not reached the midway mark in the direction of reaching a simply and ideally suited society for girls.

There is just one lady police station in your complete Valley. Do you assume, there’s a must arrange extra girls police stations in each district?

Women who’re victims of violence or harassment don’t discover it simple to method the police or different authorities in Jammu and Kashmir for assist or assist. It would, subsequently, be fascinating to supply Women’s Police Station or Mahila Police Station in each district. I might go a step additional and counsel that there ought to be chowkies of Women’s Police Station in every district so that ladies wouldn’t have to journey a lot by way of in search of redressal of their complaints.

I might additionally urge the UT administration to extend centered group outreach by participating Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) within the UT of Jammu and Kashmir who will act as an interface between police and the group to facilitate girls in misery and conduct mass consciousness programmes to sensitise plenty on gender equality and women-friendly legal guidelines.

Do you assume there’s a want to determine outdated age houses and shelter houses for homeless girls?

It has been noticed that the elders are denied care, respect and dignity at their houses, a development which is uncommon and exceptional in a spot like Jammu and Kashmir. Hence, outdated age houses develop into the final resort for such lonely and uncared for aged individuals.

On the opposite hand, there may be additionally an enormous dearth of shelter houses for girls in Jammu and Kashmir due to which victims of home violence face acute issues by way of shelter. And, at instances, they concern availing any authorized treatments as they don’t have anyplace to go to after formally launching a lawsuit or submitting a felony criticism towards the offender. Therefore, I definitely imagine that with a view to fructify the welfare legal guidelines and to make them significant, the federal government should speed up the efforts to determine enough outdated age and shelter houses in Jammu and Kashmir.

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