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Women MLAs rise in unison, call for tough law

CRIME AGAINST WOMEN

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 4: The Assam Legislative Assembly on Wednesday was witness to a rare unimity on the rampancy of crime against women in the State as all women MLAs rose to the occasion demanding justice for the victims and stringent law to fight the crime terror perpetrated on women.
The State government gave an assurance to the House that there would be zero tolerance on crime against women and that it would bring a strong Bill in the next Assembly session to counter the rising trend of crime against women.
The issue was raised by BJP MLA Angurlata Deka who said, “Assam, of late, has been witnessing crimes against women with alarming rapidity. We need a strong law to counter this. At the same time, the investigative aspect must be strong as otherwise the purpose will be defeated. Also, a crimil is a crimil, and there should be no discrimition on the grounds of religion, caste, creed etc.”
Congress MLA ndita Das said, “Let the lacue in the present law to curb crime against women be removed first. It is because of the weakness of investigation that conviction rates are quite low in our State. In rape cases, legal aid should be provided by the government, especially when the victims are from poor families.”
BPF MLA Kamali Basumatary drove home the point that whenever any crime against women took place, the government would give a lot of assurance, but ultimately nothing much would happen on the ground. “Now the big question is how safe we are as women, despite the laws in place, plus the police machinery. This means there must be some loophole somewhere,” she said.
On the other hand, senior Congress MLA Ajanta Neog said, “The rape cases taking place in the State are actually a reflection of a sick mindset. We need a strong law against such crime, and at the same time conviction rates must go up. When we are talking of empowerment of women, we are also witness to diabolic crime against women of various shades. These are opposites, which is highly unfortute.”
Congress MLA Rozli Tirkey and AGP MLA Renupama Rajkhowa also raised similar concern.
Speaker Hitendra th Goswami then said he had given scope to women MLAs to speak on such a sensitive issue but it did not mean that other MLAs were not concerned. “All of us areequally concerned, and a strong law is a must to arrest the trend,” he said.
On his part, Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal said, “Crime against women is a social malaise. It is a great challenge for us. We should jointly put up a fight. There will be zero tolerance against such crime. In the next Assembly session, we shall bring a Bill to counter crime against women. The Gauhati High Court has already agreed to setting up of fast-track courts to hear cases relating to crime against women. At the same time, public involvement is a must.”