After the Delhi bus gang rape incident and incessant protests, the Government of India set up a three-member committee headed by Justice Verma to recommend steps that can be taken to ensure women's safety in India.
The committee submitted a comprehensive report on 23rd January that was welcomed unanimously by women's groups.
However, in a gross injustice to the sentiments of millions of Indians, the government today slyly introduced an ordinance that leaves out key recommendations such as criminalising marital rape, reviewing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and trying military personnel accused of sexual offences under criminal law, and barring politicians facing such cases from contesting elections.
It must be noted that the committee received 80,000 suggestions from women's organisations, activists and citizens. Showing complete disregard for these suggestions, the government has introduced a so-called "ordinance" which would serve as a mere eyewash.
We wish to put it on record that we reject the ordinance and urge the President to refrain from signing the ordinance.
If this ordinance gets passed, the force of thousands of protesters across the country which was instrumental in bringing out an unapologetic report from the Verma Committee will go waste and it will meet the same fate as the 33% women's reservation bill.