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Soniaji, laws alone do not prevent crimes against women

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rape law
New Delhi, March 16: Sonia Gandhi said today again that law will be passed soon to stop crimes against women. Why is Sonia Gandhi simplifying such a grave issue? Laws do not stop crimes against woman, people do, mature and civilised people.

Hence, when the government brings the anti-rape law before the parliament, it should be accompanied by a plan document that will begin a process to bring change in attitude towards woman in society.

As such, the law against crimes on women is being pushed through hastily as if it will make this country a better place for woman folks. The hasty bill seems to be more for electoral gains than real concern for woman.

The government is rushing through a populist and definitely bad law. This becomes very clear if one takes note of the reactions of various sections of the society.

The BJP has concerns about decreasing the age of consent for sex as as the minimum age for marriage is 18 years.

"We are in favour of strong anti-rape Bill. We want the strongest possible punishment for the perpetrators of such crime," BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu told reporters outside Parliament. "The government for its own reasons first acted in haste and then issued an ordinance and now they want to make changes in the ordinance," he said, adding that the on-going consultations should have taken place earlier.

The bill also uses the term 'rape' which will be gender-specific, in contrast to the gender-neutral 'sexual assault' as proposed in the ordinance. This means only men can be booked for the crime.

Stalking and voyeurism have been defined as criminal offences in the bill. Sustained stalking will be a non- bailable offence.

Various outfits in Jaipur, including Jamaat-E-Islami Hind, Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, All Saint Church, Masihi Shakti Samiti today held protest here against the proposed law and termed it "funny".

"The decision of the government clearly shows its inclination towards directionless western culture. It is unfortunate and the opinion of law ministry that it will bring down rate of crime against women is simply funny," a joint statement said here.

"Pre-marriage sexual relationship with or without consent is not acceptable. The proposed law will promote illegal relationship," the statement said.

It is true, in the Indian context, a wider debate is required on age of consent for sex, and sustained campaign to change the society's outlook towards women. Law is not an answer to stop violence against women.

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