RAPE: Indian law was expanded in 2013 to consider rape as any acts like penetration by penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or any person or making her to do so with another person or applying of mouth to sexual organs without the consent or will of the woman constitutes the offence of rape.
The section has also clarified that penetration means “penetration to any extent”, and lack of physical resistance is immaterial for constituting an offence. Except in certain aggravated situation the punishment will be imprisonment not less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Indian law lays down certain provisions for medical examination of the accused. Section 164A of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the medical examination of the victim.
PUNISHMENT: A new section, 376A has been added which states that if a person committing the offence of sexual assault, “inflicts an injury which causes the death of the person or causes the person to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death.” In the case of “gang rape”, persons involved regardless of their gender shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life. The convicted shall also pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim, and per Section 357 B in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Death penalty for the most extreme rape cases is specified.
Certain changes has been introduced in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, like the recording of statement of the victim has been made more friendly and easy, character of the victim is irrelevant for consideration, presumption of no consent where sexual intercourse is proved and the victim testifies in the court that there was no consent. The age of consent in India has been increased from 16 years to 18 years, which means any sexual activity with anyone under the age of 18, irrespective of mutual consent, now constitutes statutory rape.
The amendment has made it mandatory for all government and privately run hospitals in India to give free first aid and medical treatment to victims of sexual abuse covered under Sections 326A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D or 376E of the Indian Penal Code.
AFSPA: According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as “disturbed”, an officer of the armed forces has powers to:
1) After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order,
2) Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence.
3) To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.
4) To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.
5) Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.
6) Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with the least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.
7) Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government’s judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.
8) Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.
KASHMIR: Stating that disgracing of women is being used as a war weapon by the Indian Army to punish Kashmiris for their demand of right to self-determination, noted Indian human rights activists and anthropologist Dr Anjana Chatterjee said, 7000 Kashmiri women have been gang raped in homes, streets and army camps by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir.
While speaking at a seminar ‘Experience of Detainees’ in Srinagar quoting a Human Rights Watch report, Kolkatta based activist, Chatterjee said that 63 interrogation centres are located in Kashmir Valley, 26 of which fall in Srinagar district with 19 centres in Srinagar city alone.“
“There had been more than 75 thousands deaths in Kashmir and over eight thousand cases of disappearances which shows that there is a continuous genocide of Kashmiris,” she said, adding she would raise the issue in international forums and demand commissioning of an international committee to look into the levels and number of tortures committed by Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking on the occasion noted Indian civil society activist, Gautam Naulakha said he is ashamed of being an Indian and feels disgraced to belong to a nation, which is committing war crimes on Kashmiris for their demand of right to self-determination. He said, “It is believed that more than 60,000 Kashmiris have been tortured in prisons and interrogation centres by Indian Army and the levels of torture committed on Kashmiris have no match in the entire world.”
Naulakha said that there is a need to document these tortures and file them in the court on test bases to see the outcome of the judiciary, adding the documentation will internationalise the issue of tortures, which have not been reported over the last 18 years.
Kashmiri journalist and human rights activist, Zahir-ud-din blamed International Crescent Red cross Society and Amnesty International for their failure to highlight the issue of human Rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Another human rights activist Pervez Imroz said, “There is a need to expose Indian military might at international level for their war crimes in Kashmir and the only way to do that is to document these tortures and extra judicial killings.”
CONCLUSION: I leave the conclusion in the hands of humanity.