Thu, May 25, 2017 | updated 06:50 AM IST

Facilitating a social revolution for the life and dignity of Indian Women: Lessons from Bengaluru molestations

Updated: Jan 05, 2017 14:02 IST      
Facilitating a social revolution for the life and dignity of Indian Women: Lessons from Bengaluru molestations

By Shambhavi Ravishankar

New Delhi [India], Jan. 5 (ANI): On the December 31, 2016, yet another example of societal disregard for women and the laws protecting them was seen in an assault on women in Bengaluru.

It is an incident, like all others that preceded it in various parts of the country, that is difficult to discuss without getting emotional. There are numerous protections available for women in a variety of laws such as the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Indian Evidence Act to name a few.

However, if we step back and look at the episodes that have occurred against women, even the ones that never end up gaining media attention, several issues come to light. Firstly, there are issues of legal awareness. And secondly, fear or respect for the law is minimal.

The two issues are interlinked. Without awareness of the rights, the duties and the punishments that the laws of India have, how can one fear let alone respect the laws? Though ignorance of law is not an excuse accepted in a court of law, it is a legitimate concern outside of the court.

The first issue of legal awareness of women's protections must begin at the school level. In classroom sessions of Moral Science and of Civics, children must be taught that there are punishments for committing offences against women.

This is moral and legal issue, and that fact should be inculcated, both in schools and at home. If the Government is truly intent on rooting out assault of any kind on women, it must engage in a systemic outreach program that targets even rural areas, to increase legal awareness. It can make use of several institutions for this purpose.

The Bar Council of India in its Rules for Legal Education 2008, makes it compulsory for every Institution imparting law to have a Legal Aid Centre that undertakes such activity.

(Schedule III Para 11 under "Physical Infrastructure"). Similarly, the National Commission for Women funds NGOs to run a legal awareness camp for girls and women. Looking at its syllabus and rules, two facts come to light. One, the target audience is largely female. It has not been made compulsory to have men also involved. Two, the modules being taught have no focus on the role/duties of men.

Educating women on their rights and protections is only one side of the solution. The other is getting men involved, and reminding them of their part. Legal awareness must target men as well, if it is to work. For example, the Thames Valley Police ran a consent campaign by creating a humorous video likening sexual consent to offering people tea.

Justin Fletcher, the Director Chief Inspector was quoted saying: "The law is very clear. Sex without consent is rape. Awareness of what sexual consent means and how to get it is vital. The campaign is just one of the ways in which Thames Valley police has been working with our partners within Thames Valley Sexual Violence Prevention Group to support people affected by sexual assault and rape."

Another aspect that affects legal awareness, is migration. Everybody wants the big city life and all the economic prosperity that comes with it. A city like Bengaluru, which ironically was always known for its night life, has a floating population of people who come and go daily just for work, as well as a constant flow of people moving there for jobs. They come from different parts of the country, big and small, and therefore their social education varies immensely.

The second issue, is that of respect for the law, its enforcement agencies and the judicial system. Louis D. Brandeis, a former Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Justice characterised this situation very aptly when he said "our government teaches the whole people by example. If the Government becomes the law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." People are not afraid of getting caught, or of getting prosecuted because of our overburdened infrastructure.

They have seen numerous public figures go free for crimes they clearly committed. This has created apathy and disbelief in the rule of law. It is heartening to see the positive responses of citizens after every incident. As a reaction to the happenings in Bengaluru, various events have sprung up. An anonymous group of students under the name "Night in My Shining Armour" have organised a "Night out in Town" at 8pm on January 7, 2016. It will be a walk done in solidarity along Brigade Road.

"#IWillGoOut" is trending all over Bengaluru. Another group calling themselves "Winged Warriors" have an event called "You Asked for It" on January 8, 2016 at Cubbon Park. Such initiatives should act as a catalyst for more socio-legal outreach from more institutions than the ones discussed here.

But what of the cases that do not gain such attention? What will act as a motivator for law enforcement and judicial bodies to do their part? Not only does India have laws of its own on the subject, it also has international commitments vis-a- vis human rights instruments that it has signed. This fact needs to permeate Indian traditions, culture and thought. For such a social revolution, awareness and respect are the need of the hour, if we are truly to protect an Indian woman's right to life and dignity. (ANI)

Saharanpur smoldering in fire of casteism lit by BJP: Cong

Updated: May 25, 2017 04:04 IST     

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): Following the worrisome Saharanpur clashes, the Congress Party on Thursday said the city was smoldering in the fire of casteism lit by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Full Story >>

Centre slams Omar Abdullah, says he is exposing his true self

Updated: May 25, 2017 02:37 IST     

Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): Slamming former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah for calling the Indian Army's inquiry into 'human shield' case a farce, Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said that the ones protesting over the issue are actually exposing their true selves.

Full Story >>

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], May 25 (ANI): Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has sought an apology from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah for his remarks on the funds given to the state by the Central Government.

Full Story >>

Imphal (Manipur) [India], May 25 (ANI): The last rites of the remaining eight persons, who lost their lives during the agitations against the 'Anti-Tribal Bills' in Churachandpur, were performed yesterday.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): The Patiala House Court will on Thursday hear the bail pleas of five new accused in connection with the alleged irregularities pertaining to the Urban North Coal Block in Madhya Pradesh.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): The Delhi High Court will on Thursday continue hearing a suo motu cognizance by the court

Full Story >>

People to soon get world class facilities at Jammu Airport

Updated: May 25, 2017 00:07 IST     

Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], May 25 (ANI): With an aim to cater to the growing influx of people, the authorities of the Jammu Airport are upgrading with modern equipments and expanding the capacity of the airport.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called on British Prime Minister Theresa May to express solidarity over the recent Manchester terror attack.

Full Story >>

Don't pay heed to inflammatory speeches urges UP CM

Updated: May 24, 2017 23:09 IST     

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], May 24 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday appealed to the people of the state to not to pay heed to any inflammatory speeches spread by 'certain elements'.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India] May 24 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee has written to Dr. Krishan Kant Paul, the Governor of Uttarakhand, conveying his condolences on the loss of lives due to a bus accident in Uttarakhand on Wednesday.

Full Story >>

New defence procurement policy in offing: Jaitley

Updated: May 24, 2017 22:58 IST     

New Delhi [India] May 24 (ANI): Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the government would soon roll out new strategic partnership policy and rope in private players to jointly manufacture defence equipments under the 'Make in India' initiative.

Full Story >>

Rudy wonders why Lalu involved children in lust of money

Updated: May 24, 2017 22:36 IST     

New Delhi [India] May 24 (ANI): Union Minister for Skill Development Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Wednesday sought to know why Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav involved his children in his lust for money.

Full Story >>

People who follow rules, decorum face consequences: Shiv Sena

Updated: May 24, 2017 22:36 IST     

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] May 24 (ANI): Rebutting Karnataka minister R. Roshan Baig's objecting to the chanting of "Jai Maharashtra", Shiv Sena leader Neelam Ghore on Wednesday asserted that those who follow rules and decorum in life are the ones who face consequences.

Full Story >>

Politcos, soldiers, businessmen discuss internal security

Updated: May 24, 2017 22:36 IST     

New Delhi [India] May 24 (ANI): Politicians, soldiers and businessmen on Wednesday joined heads to discuss the internal security in the country.

Full Story >>

Militants shot PDP worker at Srinagar's Barzulla district

Updated: May 24, 2017 22:22 IST     

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India] May 24 (ANI): A Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (JKPDP or PDP) worker was allegedly shot by militants in Srinagar's Barzulla district on Wednesday night.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 24 (ANI): The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the amendment of Central Road Fund Act, 2000 to allocate 2.5 per cent of the proceeds of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) and a reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India] May 24 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Wednesday was apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India] May 24 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Transplant Organization, Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality of Spain and the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India on cooperation in the field of Organ Transplant Services.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India] May 24 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Wednesday has approved the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine.

Full Story >>

Young entrepreneur introduces 'modern kitchen' in Kashmir

Updated: May 24, 2017 21:52 IST     

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], May 24 (ANI): Muzamil Ahmad is a Kashmiri entrepreneur who has introduced the modular kitchen concept in the Kashmir Valley.

Full Story >>