New Delhi: On the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case, activists on Tuesday said that women continue to face violence in every sphere of life and that it was the certainty of justice which can bring about a change and not the severity of punishment.
"In the three years since December 2012, women continue to face violence in every space they occupy, including their own homes, public transport and at workplaces. There have been many attacks on women and girls, some accompanied by huge media coverage, but most taking place away from the public glare," Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association said.
"We stand today in hope with millions across the country -and indeed, the world - that justice will prevail in all cases, including the December 2012 case, according to the
prevailing laws of the land. We reiterate our demand for certainty of justice and not severity of punishment," she added.
Krishnan is signatory to a statement endorsed by 108 women activists, students and faculty from DU, JNU and Ambedkar university and progressive leaders, issued on the third anniversary of the December 16 gang-rape case today.
"The government is using issue of violence against women to push through regressive policies like death penalty, or lowering the age of juvenile -- even though the Justice Verma Committee carefully considered and rejected these measures as counter-- productive and against the interests of victims of gender violence," the statement said.
"If we turn to cases filed under the new amendments to the law against sexual assault that were passed in the wake of the movement in December 2012, the scene is dismal. Be it the women in Muzaffarnagar, Bhagana or Bastar, or the women employees of Tehelka or TERI, they all await justice.”
"The police and the judicial system, not to mention society, the media and political powers that rule at states or the Centre, have mostly worked to subvert the law.”
"Worryingly, even as women who file cases under the laws enacted to protect women are feeling betrayed and vulnerable, a growing clamour brands the laws against gender-based violence as 'draconian,' 'biased against men'," the statement added.
Six persons including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.
Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by a trial court in the gang-rape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court.
Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.
The Centre had earlier this week asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict who is scheduled to be released on Sunday, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free.
Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions are being organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya.
In memory of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improving women's safety, the parents of the victim, in collaboration with women's and citizens groups, are also marking the day as 'Nirbhaya Chetna Divas' at Jantar Mantar.