Violence Against Women by the Army Personnel
8 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020
Date Written: December 30, 2019
Protectors or predators? Guardians of the Nation or devils outraging a women’s modesty? The very simple question being asked here is how often in lieu of construction of National Security the protectors turn into predators? How does sexual desire get channelized into construction of National security? Do the gruesome acts of that of rapeand other hideous crime conducted on the ‘No Man’s Land’ justify as an immunity? And ironically, the most respected troop of the nation are the one traumatizing the women of the.As one rightly announces, atrocities against women, it not only exists within the boundaries of the nation rather it is in its most brutal form in the ‘disturbed area’ and that too in its most brutal form. The most heinous crimes are committed where the state boundaries end. Vulnerability of the she-gender: is like being in a constant state of war fighting for the very basic rights of being a human and not just rights as a women, be it within the borders or beyond and not being confined to any cultural boundaries. Crime against women is like being in an existing state of war against humanity and will prolong if necessary steps aren’t taken. These can be clubbed in specific different spheres, and it ranges from acts of sexual violence, forced prostitution, of all cross border trafficking and murder.
In areas such as Manipur, Guwahati , Assam , Jammu and Kashmir which fall under the category of ‘disturbed areas’, the cry of the physically weaker section of the society goes unheard to the extent that they have to initiate the walk of shame by stripping down their clothes to get the inconsiderate audience, the media, the unsympathetic government and even the judicial authority to hear them. Such immunities to the men in uniform raise the question as to whether the society will ever emerge to be an egalitarian one. Manorma rape case in Manipur (2004), Khairlanji rapes and killings (2006), Shopian Kashmir rape case (2009) aggravated sexual violence in Guwahati (2012) and the incident as that of Delhi gang rape case; shifted the focus to re-evaluating and reframing protection of women under the present law based on recommendations from Justice Verma Committee, which was constituted to look into possible amendments of the Criminal Law within the State.
While the Verma committee called for a review to AFSPA (Armed forces special protection Act). It noted that “impunity for systematic or isolated sexual violence in the process of internal security duties is being legitimised by the AFSPA” and “women in conflict areas are entitled to all the security and dignity that is afforded to citizens in any other part of our country”. While the central committee adopted all the recommendations of the subsequent anti-rape bill, it left out those about AFSPA. Though India is a signatory to many international Conventions on issues of human rights and conflict agenda, such as the Geneva Convention and CEDAW (The Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the ground reality remains is different due to poor implementation of the international standard protecting women in armed conflict situation.
The armed personnel use various acts like AFSPA, Army’s Act, 1950, Disturbed Areas Act 1992, as appanage against the punishments which relate to the crimes they commit against civilians. Various provisions of AFSPA are inconsistent with the laws relating to violence against the women in the country. The AFSPA calls for a separate tribunal for the army. The crimes which fall out of their ‘call of duty’ such as rapes, sexual assault are to be tried by court martial and not by the ordinary criminal court. In the year 2016 and 2018 after the landmark judgments in Manipur Murder Case and in the case of death of three civilians in Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir respectively the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India held against the Army Personnel using excessive force and ended the impunity for the armed forces. It is only then that the 60 year old legislation again invoked sharp responses on the issue of immunity and the ‘Army Doctrine’.
The paper initially deals with giving the backdrop of the Indian society which still has a traditional patriarchal set up that influence the law of land as well. The paper further lays down the provisions of AFSPA digging its inconsistencies with the penal law of the country and also the international law. Suggestions have been put forward to lessen such crimes in the future. Demand for separate protocol for women who have been victims in the armed conflict has been put forward along with few basic suggestions of not providing any immunity for armed personnel for sexual offences. The social development of the nation depends on how secured an individual feels without having to worry about their gender.
Keywords: Army; AFSPA; Crime; Sexual offences; women
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