Women rights activists gathered at Jantar Mantar here on Thursday under the Bekhauf Azadi (Freedom Without Fear) banner to demand effective laws against sexual violence based on the Justice Verma Committee recommendations.
This “People’s watch over Parliament” on the first day of the Budget Session saw participation of social activists including Shabana Azmi, Ranjana Kumari, Annie Raja and Vrinda Grover. All-India Progressive Women’s Association secretary Kavita Krishnan said: “We demand effective laws against sexual violence based on the Justice Verma Committee recommendations. These recommendations seek to safeguard women’s autonomy, undo deeply-entrenched gender bias, end the impunity enjoyed by powerful rapists, and ensure accountability on part of the police. The Centre should ensure that they are accepted and brought into public in a manner that benefits women.”
She reiterated that by making it possible for men to file cases of rape against women, the Central Government had played a cruel joke. In another major protest at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, women groups demanded immediate resignation of P. J. Kurien from the post of Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha for his alleged involvement in the Suryanelli rape case.
Expressing outrage over his being permitted to continue in his constitutional post, Sudha Sundararaman of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association said: “Mr. Kurien should resign immediately pending further investigation into the Suryanelli rape case. We condemn the Central Government’s refusal to take necessary action against Mr. Kurien especially when the legislation to address sexual assault on women (to replace the ordinance promulgated by the President) was slated to come up for discussion in the Budget session of Parliament beginning Thursday.”