Thousands participate in 'Freedom March', demand strict laws against sexual crimes
Thousands of people, mostly students and youth, participated in a protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar here on Saturday, demanding prompt implementation of the Justice Verma Committee recommendations to strictly enforce the laws regarding crimes against women.
The government has constituted the three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India, J. S. Verma, to suggest steps to review laws related to crimes against women, following the countrywide outrage and anger after the brutal incident of Delhi gangrape on December 16.
The call for this 'Freedom March' was given by the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), and All India Students Association (AISA) with an objective to 'reclaim the republic' for women and oppressed sections of the society.
"On the occasion of the Republic Day, we are here to remind the government that 'we the people' constitute the republic, and we will not wait and watch silently. Justice Verma Committee has taken notice of some of the major issues we have been raising, and now the government must break it silence and take concrete steps to amend the laws according to its recommendations," said Kavita Krishnan, secretary general, (AIPWA).
"We are not going to leave the roads so easily. We will carry on this movement through various means and mode of protest on different occasions like Valentine Day and International Women's Day in coming days," she added.
A large number of protests gathered at Mandi House Metro station around 2.30 p.m. and marched to the Jantar Mantar, holding placards, posters, banners and shouting slogans for women liberation.
Justive Verma Committee handed over its report to the Home Ministry on Friday, considering more than 80,000 suggestions from across the world.
The suggestions included banning a traumatic 'two-finger' test, reviewing the controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), and bringing the cases of custodial rape under common law.
The committee has also suggested to considering offences like stalking, eve teasing and verbal harassment as sexual crimes and has recommended punishment for such acts.