‘Death penalty will not deter rapists’

Staff Correspondent
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Awarding death penalty to rape convicts will not solve the problem of sexual crimes, said Bangalore-based Woman’s Rights Activist Madhu Bhushan from Vimochana.

“It is an instant solution… might get the spectacle. We need to address the larger problem of anger among youngsters,” she said in reply to a question on death penalty to rapists during a seminar here on Wednesday.

Ms. Bhushan said persons involved in sexual crime were a product of the society. By awarding capital punishment people are abdicating their responsibility of addressing the problem’s root cause. “It is frightening to see the amount of violence among youngsters.” These youth, who are increasingly desensitised, need to be re-sensitised with values, she said.

Ms. Bhushan was speaking on “Crime against women and justice” at the two-day seminar on “Mitigating the menace of crime for a just and humane society”. She said the government was not addressing crime against women the right way.

She said the Justice J.S. Verma Commission provided several positive recommendations, including redefining rape. But the government only brought out “hugely watered down” amendments to criminal law. The justice system continued to be an arm of a militarised State, she said.

Existing laws regarding women are outdated. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, a good Act, came into being after a prolonged struggle by women’s activists. But shortage of humanpower has made its enforcement ineffective. There is no clear definition of dowry in the Dowry Prohibition Act and the provisions of the Indian Penal Code related to dowry harassment and dowry death.

Madhu Bhushan says there is a need to address the larger problem of violence among the youth




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