Study shows crimes against women are taken lightly by the Indian system
Srinagar: Amid simmering anger over recent so many rape cases that shook the entire nation, including Kathua rape and murder and Unnao case, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) in a recent report observed that BJP has the highest number of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) facing cases of crime against women.
Out of 1,580 (33 percent) MPs/MLAs who have declared criminal cases, 48 (45 MLAs and three MPs) have declared cases related to crimes against women, said ADR and NEW in a report “Analysis of MPs/MLAs with Declared Cases Related to Crimes against Women” (April 19). The report analyzed 4,845 out of 4,896 election affidavits of current MPs and MLAs that included 768 out of 776 affidavits of MPs and 4,077 out of 4,120 MLAs from all the states across the country.
The report further observed that 327 candidates analyzed who had declared cases related to crimes against women were given tickets by major political parties and 118 independent candidates analyzed with declared cases related to crimes against women had contested for Lok/Rajya Sabha and state assembly elections during the past five years. Among those candidates, 40 were given tickets by parties for Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha elections. Moreover, various political parties had given tickets to 287 candidates with cases related to crimes against women for state assemblies’ elections. While 18 independent candidates with declared cases related to crimes against women contested in the Lok Sabha/Rajya elections during the past five years, almost 100 independent candidates with declared cases related to crimes against women contested in the state assembly elections during the same period, added the report.
Party wise candidates with cases related to crimes against women
While BJP tops the list among political parties, others in the fray included Shiv Sena and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC). The BJP had 12 MPs and MLAs who had declared cases of crime against women, Shiv Sena had seven and AITC had six MPs/MLAs who had declared cases related to crimes against women. Providing details about the major political parties during the past five years, the report said that 47 candidates with cases of crimes against women were given tickets by BJP followed by BSP that had given tickets to around 35 such candidates, followed by Congress (24).
Statewise MPs/MLAs with cases related to crimes against women
Among the states, Maharashtra had the highest number of MPs/MLAs (12) followed by West Bengal (11), Odisha and Andhra Pradesh (five each) who had declared cases related crimes against women. Maharashtra had even the highest number of candidates (65) who were given tickets by political parties during the past five years even though they had declared cases related to crimes against women in their affidavits, followed by Bihar (62) and West Bengal (52).
MLAs with Declared Cases Related To Rape
Three MLAs (out of 48 MPs/MLAs); Gonuguntla Suryanarayana from TDP from Dharmavaram constituency in Andhra Pradesh (2014), Jethabhai G. Ahir from BJP from Shehra constituency in Gujarat (2017) and Gulab Yadav from RJD from Jhanjharpur constituency in Bihar (2015) had declared cases related to rape, said the report. It further added that major political parties had given tickets to 26 candidates during the past five years who had declared cases related to rape and 14 independent candidates with declared cases related to rape had contested for Lok/Rajya Sabha and state assembly elections.
Most of the charges, the report said, included assault or use of criminal force against women with intent to outrage their modesty (IPC Section 354); kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc. (IPC Section 366); rape (IPC Section 376); husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty (IPC Section 498A); buying a minor for purposes of prostitution, etc. (IPC Section 373) and use of word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (IPC Section 509).
The report argued that all the major political parties had given tickets to candidates with cases of crimes against women, especially rape, and therefore hindering the safety and dignity of women. “These are serious cases where charges have been framed and cognizance taken by the courts.” The report strongly recommended that candidates with a serious criminal background should be debarred from contesting elections and political parties should disclose the criteria on which candidates are given tickets and cases against MPs and MLAs should be fast-tracked and decided upon in a time-bound manner.
Further, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women (UN Commission on the Status of Women) on the recent cases of sexual violence against women and girls in India in an emailed statement (April 17) reiterated “to rape and kill children is to defy and violate fundamental aspects of our shared humanity. No rape and no murder is justifiable. Such acts dehumanize societies in ways that are profoundly dangerous. If they go unchallenged and unpunished, they speak to a reduced value of human life and of an abdication of responsibility that are warning signs for us all.”