Protest against anti-rape ordinance in Delhi

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 18, 2013 15:10 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Women activists and students will hold a protest in the national capital Thursday against the government's ordinance amending anti-rape laws, saying it is not in favour of women.

"This ordinance is only an eyewash. It does not make the anti-rape law stronger at all. So, we will be protesting at Jantar Mantar Thursday as the budget session starts," woman activist Kavita Krishnan said Monday.

The protest has been named "people's watch on parliament".

Demands for more stringent anti-rape laws gained momentum after a 23-year-old woman was raped and tortured in the national capital Dec 16, 2012. The woman died Dec 29.

A committee under former chief justice J.S. Verma was formed to review anti-rape laws, which submitted its report Jan 23.

Following this, the government came up with an ordinance based on this report for amending Indian Penal Code and other laws relating to rape and other sexual offences. A law will be passed in budget session of parliament related to the ordinance.

Activists have, however, rejected the ordinance saying it had several loopholes.

"The ordinance makes the perpetrator of rape 'gender-neural': i.e both men and women can be accused of rape. This will mean that if a woman files a rape complaint against a man, he will be able to file a counter-complaint of rape against her," Krishnan said.

"The ordinance, in its present form, justifies and legalises marital rape. Even if a wife separates legally from her husband, the husband will get a lenient (two-year) punishment if he rapes her," she added.

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