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Delhi gangrape: Women, student bodies flock to brainstorm stringent laws

New Delhi: More than 10 days after protests broke in the national capital in the wake of the brutal gangrape on 16 December last year, many groups and associations have joined hands to finalise suggestions to submit to the Justice Verma committee.

Following the severe protests on Delhi streets, the Justice Verma committee was formed by the government to look into the laws dealing with crimes against women and make them stringent.

Protests in New Delhi against the gangrape incident. PTI

Speedy access to justice, sensitisation of police and armed forces, lodging of FIR report in all rape cases and constant police patrolling are some of the suggestions that the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) will submit to the committee, said secretary of the organisation, Kavita Krishnan.

"In addition to 'Justice for Women Now' (the banner under which the organisation and other student bodies are clubbed for now), I am aware of at least five students’ groups which are not connected to any organisation but have been constantly involved in the process," said Krishnan, who led the protests at Jantar Mantar.

"There is a lot of positive energy in youth which needs to be channelised in the right direction. We are trying to formulate a platform for that as well," she said.

AIPWA national vice- president Jagmati Sangwan said a joint draft for legal intervention has been scripted which will be sent to the committee.

"At least 15 organisations including Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, National Federation of Indian Women, and Young Women’s Christian Association have contributed to this draft," said Sangwan.

Both AIPWA officials said that coming under a common platform was not necessary and the same should not be a prerequisite for the government to initiate a dialogue with the civil society.

The composition of Justice Verma committee had flaws, said Sucheta De, former president, JNUSU, as it does not have any women member or an expert on women’s rights.

"Even then, we will send suggestions to the committee including our demand to consider custodial rapes, marital rapes, fast-tracking of rape cases against policemen and army personnel," said De.

The Justice Verma committee will receive feedback till 5 January.