Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, to combat domestic violence and protect women from dowry harassment, has become a mere tool to protect men’s offences.

The amendments brought about in view of the misuse of the provision by a few women, are only diluting the law. Apart from this, the counselling sessions, included to unite the couples, is of no use if the police themselves are misleading the complainants, redirecting them to file false cases.

These were some of the views voiced by the representatives of Progressive Organisation for Women (POW), opposing the amendments made under Section 498-A, at a meeting hosted on the eve of International Women’s Day. On Friday, the hall at Visakhapatnam Public Library was packed with women and a few men from different walks of life paying rapt attention to the talk by experts.

Some of the representatives of POW also expressed their emotions singing songs and raising slogans.

‘No proper support system’

“For three decades we have been fighting for our rights and Acts. Even though the government has introduced many laws to protect women against violence, it is sad to note that our struggle continues for its implementation. Unfortunately, there is no proper support system in place to safeguard ourselves against the increasing violence,” member of Human Rights Forum K. Sudha said.

Citing many pending cases, social activist and advocate Zaha Aara said: “It is annoying to note the callous attitude of the police. They not only mislead the vulnerable women to file a false complaint against their husband but also fail to register the First Information Report on receiving the complaint. The woman has to run around police station for months to lodge a complaint against her abusive husband.”

Many victims of domestic violence also attended the convention. Some of their cases were narrated by State vice-president of POW M. Lakshmi.

According to her, apart from punishing the criminals, it is necessary to find out the root cause of the offence and take measures to control them.

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