“Laws intended to protect women, girls pending for several years”

The inordinate delay on the part of the Congress-led UPA government in enacting laws to prevent sexual assault on women is taking a heavy toll and exposing them to various forms of violence, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member and MP Brinda Karat said.

Ms. Karat was here to participate in the 12th State conference of the All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) which concluded on Wednesday. Later, speaking to journalists she alleged that legislation intended to protect women and girls from sexual assault and abuse were pending for several years due to the government's apathy.

“What prevented the government from bringing in legislation to check sexual harassment of women at work place as per the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Vishaka case dating back to 1997,” she asked, and lamented that the crime rate against women had assumed serious proportions.

As per the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a staggering number of over 2 lakh cases of violence against women had been registered.

Conviction rate low

A crime was being committed against women every three seconds, but the conviction rate was abysmally low. New Delhi had turned into the “crime capital,” she said.

Ms. Karat regretted that the government was trying to weaken the existing laws meant to protect women alleging their misuse. It lacked political will to ensure passage of the long-pending Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament, she said

The CPI(M) leader observed that Andhra Pradesh had become a hub for unethical clinical trials. Innocent and impoverished women were being used as ‘guinea pigs' for illegal clinical trials by errant pharma companies under the pretext of demonstration projects.

Lack of monitoring by institutions such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was responsible for violation of the prescribed guidelines and ethics.

Explanation demanded

She demanded that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy give an explanation for the recent ‘clinical trials' on women in Guntur and Warangal districts.

“It is the responsibility of the government to provide compensation to all the victims of clinical trials and initiate deterrent action against the firms responsible for the unethical practice,” she said.

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