VARIOUS WOMEN’S groups have said the incidents in the last few months of sexual assaults on young girls and women in Maharashtra, such as in Kopardi (Ahmednagar), Talegaon (Nashik), Osmanabad, Beed, and others, are a cause of serious concern.
In a statement issued today, Kiran Moghe (Akhil Bhartiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana), Shanta Ranade, Lata Bhise (Bhartiya Mahila Federation) and others pointed out that they were trying to draw the attention not just of the government but also the general public to this serious state of affairs.
Weak laws, lack of sensitivity in the police, the criminal justice system and the administration, poor infrastructure coupled with political patronage for the perpetrators of such crimes have all led to a poor conviction rate in crimes against women, Moghe said.
The statement said the groups have always maintained that violence against women is not a cause of concern for women and women’s organizations alone, but a problem to be addressed by society at large: “Violence against women is a serious problem with multiple dimensions…Discrimination at the workplace, insecure public places, sex selection, overruling their right to choose their partners or even their careers, etc. are some of the ways in which women are treated unequally in our society.”
It adds, “A large number of gatherings in different parts of Maharashtra wherein ordinary people are coming out on the streets to protest against the brutal atrocities against young girls and raising demands for strict punishment to the culprits is welcome. However, we do not find people taking to the streets to protest these atrocities.” The women’s groups have strongly condemned any attempt to utilize the issue of violence against women in order to target any particular community and indulge in sectarian politics.
They have appealed for an immediate halt to attempts to project only one aspect of violence against women and utilize it as a political tool to create a rift between different communities.