Saturday, 24 August 2013 16:07

LSP condemns gang-rape incident, calls for urgent reforms in criminal justice system

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Lok Satta Party Maharashtra unit condemned the brutal gang-rape of a young photojournalist in the heart of the city, and called for swift and exemplary punishment to be meted out to the perpetrators to deter such crimes in the future.

Noting the rising crime rate in the city, especially crimes against women, Maharashtra unit President Dr Kedar Diwan said "Maintaining law and order should be the top priority of the government, all else should come second. Still, the Maharashtra government has refused to sincerely implement the Supreme Court's directives on police reforms since 2006, on one flimsy pretext or the other. The police are still operating under archaic and outdated laws dating back to colonial times, which were framed specifically to rule with an iron hand and consolidate and perpetuate the British Raj. Such laws hinder efficiency and accountability of the force. No wonder the police seem unable to tackle anti-social elements effectively, being understaffed, overworked and forced to operate as per the whims and wishes of politicians."

Lok Satta Party also demanded better gender sensitization and induction of more females in the police force, which would make it more approachable in sensitive cases of crimes against women. It also called for rationalizing of VIP security duties for the force, leaving more time and resources for the core functions of crime prevention and investigation.

Dr Diwan also called for urgently reforming the judiciary to make sure the wheels of justice move faster, recalling the Keenan-Rueben case in which the trial started a year and a half after the murders, in spite of a national uproar over the ghastly incident. The issue was championed by Lok Satta Andolan's Youth wing, Yuva Satta, through its Zero Tolerance Campaign.

Lok Satta has been advocating and working on police and judicial reforms since its inception as an NGO in 1996. Lok Satta's reform agenda was incorporated into the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission Report.