After the Guwahati incident, in which a teenage girl was molested by mob, the UPA government is facing pressure from woman activists from all sections to draft a stricter law for crimes against woman. According to Brinda Karat, women's rights activist and CPM politburo member, the Home Minister P Chidambaram has not shown the sensitivity the issue demands.
"Mr. Chidambaram on many occasion has displayed great insensitivity to the different kinds of crime that women face," said Brinda Karat to Karan Thapar on his show Devil's Advocate on CNN-IBN.
She blamed the home minister of ignoring the crimes committed against women, especially the honour killings. Chidambaram, according to Karat, at the behest of ensuring woman's safety is playing vote bank politics.
"For example this whole issue of honour killing and honour crimes, Mr.Chidambaram doesn't think we need a stand alone law for that. Across the parliament there is consensus on this but the Home Minister doesn't think so. Why? Perhaps because of vote bank politics," Karat said.
The UPA's inaction in drafting appropriate bills in order to fight crimes against woman, according to Karat, is "a display of the lack of political will and understanding as to the importance of addressing increasing crimes against women."
The present law for sexual harassment against woman specifies the offender as one "who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman with intent to outrage her modesty." This use of the phrase "outrage her modesty", has been criticised by women activists as it focuses not on the assault but on the victim.
"It is not only vague, its objectionable. What is this modesty? Modesty is akin to saying you have to be a chaste woman, a 'modest' woman, otherwise you gonna get what comes to you," Karat said.
"The whole approach and language is wrong because it reflects what I would say wrong mentality," she added.