#India- State Throttling the voice, banning the thought of innocent people #draconianlaws #prisoners


draconianlaw

Jan 6, 2013, Deccan Herald 

 The rage of the ‘invisible masses,’ is a thread binding all democratic protests and people’s movements across the state. Be it in Konkan or Vidarbha or the deep dry jungles of Gadchiroli, the cries of ‘rights’ and ‘freedom’ has faded in majority of cases into the darkness of the shadows of the prison cells. Throttling the voice and banning the thought has turned these regions into police state, where in the name of law shackles are clamped on every dissenting voice.


In Konkan, since 2006, the undulating hills dotting Maharashtra coastline has been echoing and roiling with angry voices questioning the nuclear and open cast mining projects pock-marking the green ribbon stretching along the seashore.

The movement, despite running on peaceful strategy, has seen incidents of violence from the police side; in April 2011, police in order to quell a protesting mob, opened fire killing one person.

Last June, when villagers protested against Jaitapur nuclear power project, armed police clamped Section 144.

Vidarbha farmers’ fault?

The region everyday witnesses a funeral of a farmer committing suicide, deaths due to malnutrition and starvation in tribal areas.

The story is not new; in 2001, thousands of tribal women ‘Tendu’ workers were just hauled up in police vans and bundled off to prisons, charged with various draconian sections. Their fault: they were  demanding basic food security.

In December 2012, the government refused permission for staging any kind of demonstration to over a thousand widows of farmers, who took their lives to escape the sharp economic claws, under the pretext that it ‘is being spearheaded by Naxalites.’

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti leader Kishore Tiwari says: “Raise your voice and you find yourself facing a non-bailable warrant. Since 2001 I have been charged with over 231 criminal cases…”

Gadchiroli’s eternal prisoners

It is the border tribal district and the news that filter out from this region focusses only on ‘violent clashes between the police and militant outfits'; the peaceful demonstrations of tribals asserting their democratic rights and ending up in prisons where sun rarely peeps in, never sees light.

On December 10, 2012, 50 tribal women languishing in Nagpur Central Prison for the past several years, under the charges of being “Naxal‘ sympathisers, went on a 11-day hunger strike demanding immediate opening up of the Gadchiroli Prison and an inquiry into ‘illegal re-arrests.’

Human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling said: “Using the 170-km stretch between Nagpur and Gadchiroli court as an excuse, the police deliberately delay the proceedings. What these women undertrials want is a speedy trial which is their Constitutional right.”

The hunger-strike once again brought to fore the brazen violation of human rights and Constitutional rights by the police and other para-military forces who clandestinely re-arrest political prisoners who have been acquitted or granted bail as soon as they emerge from the prison gate.

In 2007, human rights activist Arun Ferriera, was picked up along with one Arun Satya Reddy while he was distributing pamphlets to Dalits in Dikshabhoomi near Nagpur. In 2011, despite being cleared of all charges by a lower court, the police clandestinely whisked him from the exit door of the jail. In jail, he saw the re-arrest of tribal men and women in violation of laws and undertook a fast lasting 27 days, demanding an inquiry into ‘illegal re-arrests’.

Miss-o-Gyny #Vaw #Patriarchy #Bollywood #Sundayreading


Shubhra Gupta : New Delhi, Sun Jan 06 2013,

A few days back, someone I thought I knew well cornered me with a volley of verbal abuse.

A few days back, someone I thought I knew well cornered me with a volley of verbal abuse. Out came the hallowed twinning of mother and sister, used over and over again. After the initial paralysing shock, I got thinking. It doesn’t matter how urbane or how educated or how “sensitive” the incensed person may be. The way to have a satisfactory blow out for an angry male is to go down the route where unspeakable things are done to ma and behen. And in some parts of India, to beti, too.

That is a true example of rage-via-misogyny. Sometimes I wonder if there is any other kind. The dictionary tells us misogyny is hatred, or dislike of women. The person who had placed me at the receiving end of his bile would have been horrified if I had accused him of being a misogynist. And he wasn’t. Not primarily. He was just being angry. He was just using words to express that anger. And that’s the tragedy: to use words derogatory to women, as abuse, not realising what you are doing. Or realising but not caring.

It’s everywhere. In casual conversation, in cool rapper riffs, in smart slang. And, of course, in the movies. I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me: look at Bollywood, the way they objectify women, those ghastly item numbers, those disgusting anti-women jokes, that’s true misogyny. And I always tell those accusers, who all glare at me as if I’m personally responsible for what they are being subjected to (I’m not, I’m not, I watch them films, same as you), that yes, of course, Bollywood is full of misogyny. It’s full of sick, lewd jokes. It’s full of the sort of male gaze that starts four inches below your chin and stops at your navel.

And then I tell them this: that Bollywood doesn’t come out of a vacuum. It is made up of people who are drawn from the same gene pool as you and me. The people who make the films, the people who act in them, are not so very different from us, the people who watch. Movies reflect life. And then life reflects movies. And it’s all a never-ending, vicious circle. So when Shammi Kapoor shakes his hair into his eyes, and stalks Saira or Sharmila, breaking into a song, he is just acting out a gender role, which has had approval and approbation for centuries. Men are the hunters and gatherers. Women should just lie down and arrange their hair to be dragged easier into the cave.

The guy who’s watching is, in his head, no less than Shammi. Nor Rajesh. Nor SRK, Salman, Aamir. Or Emraan. There’s that woman on the road. She is alone (even amongst a bevy of sahelis, a heroine will be alone, because the camera knows her, the one who will be the target of the hero’s “interest”). She is vulnerable. She can’t really tell the annoying fellow to take a hike, because who knows what will happen. He may become even more persistent. He may not stop at “being cute”. He may turn first borderline offensive. Then a boor: did she just say no to me? Then a rapist: how dare she say no to me? I’ll show her.

What most mainstream Hindi cinema has exhibited over the years, in the way it portrays “modern” relationships, from Shammi to Ranbir, is an arc of prescribed male-female responses. He chases, she runs away. He chases harder. She plays hard to get. He pants. She comes to a standstill. Game over. From being “that” girl, she becomes part of the holy trinity of ma-behen-biwi.

With an honourable exception or two, this is how it has always played out. Raj Kapoor got his leading ladies to wear diaphanous white, because it wets best. When Madhuri asks us what lies beneath her choli, we know it’s not her heart that’s looming across the screen in 40D. Over the years the leeway filmmakers have arrogated to themselves to become lewder, has grown by leaps and bounds. I’ll never forget that moment in a film in which Paresh Rawal’s character looks at a shivering girl in a corner, whom he is about to rape, and leers “chal, chal jaldi kapde utaar”. And how a whole wave of laughter rolled out from a section of the audience.

What the older cabaret artists did, inviting the male gaze to linger over forbidden territory thereby legitimising it, is now the role of the severely under-clothed item girl. If there’s no double meaning to your dialogue, where’s the fun? Do you seriously expect us to laugh at your “veg” jokes? Of course, she means yes, when she is saying no. What kind of man are you? “Jo dikhta hai, woh bikta hai”.

This year’s most fearless heroine (Zoya in Ishaqzaade) who is shown toting a gun and speaking for herself, suffers the most regressive fate: sex is used by the hero for subjugation, not sublimation. If that is not misogyny, I don’t know what is.

 

#Pakistangangrape – 9-year-old kidnapped and gang-raped #Vaw


 06 January, 2013, 08:17, http://rt.com/news
An archive photo of  a Pakistani girl. (Reuters / Fayaz Aziz)

An archive photo of a Pakistani girl. (Reuters / Fayaz Aziz)

A nine-year-old Pakistani girl has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after being kidnapped and brutally gang-raped. The girl’s mother has named the abusers, but no arrests were made.

The girl was admitted to a hospital in Bahawalpur after being raped on Wednesday. She remains in critical condition due to loss of blood and internal injuries, the Express Tribune reported, quoting the hospital’s doctors.

Local police have launched a criminal case against seven men for the kidnap and rape; no arrests have been made yet.

The girl’s mother named five of the seven suspects. She reportedly told police that she hesitated to inform law enforcers because the kidnappers threatened to kill her and the girl if the woman spoke to authorities.

Station House Officer Irshad Joyia said they were ordered to arrest the suspects, but later were informed that the men had fled to Alipur village, the Express Tribune said.

According to a First Information Report (FIR) prepared by police, the girl was beaten and then kidnapped by three women and a man in front of her house in Manzoorabad in Rahim Yar Khanby. The kidnappers reportedly took her to another location where she was gang-raped by three men, one of whom was named in the FIR.

The girl was then allegedly taken back to the place from which she was kidnapped. The girl’s mother told police she found her bloodied daughter near their house. She then took the child to Sheikh Zayed Hospital for examination and treatment.

The rape came weeks after a similar shocking case when a six-year-old Hindu girl was allegedly raped in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province at the beginning of December. The child was also reportedly kidnapped and gang-raped. Residents of the province staged several protests in response to the incident.

These two recent cases in Pakistan coincide with a horrifying gang-rape in India that claimed the life of a 23-year-old student raped on a bus by six men, the youngest of whom reportedly was a minor. The six men have all been chargedwith murder, gang-rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and other felonies. They are expected to appear in court on Monday.

The case sparked mass protests in New Delhi. Demonstrators, particularly women, demanded the rapists be punished and called for the creation of new laws to protect Indian women.

The incident has drawn international attention to the high rates of violence against women in India, where rape victims often do not report to the police for fear of shaming their families or being ignored by law enforcement.

BMC employees without #Aadhaar denied salaries #Illegal #UID #WTFnews


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Published: Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013, 9:48 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

 

Are you a government official without a unique identity (UID) card? Get one soon or else you will receive a financial jolt. And 20,800 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staffers will tell you how true that is.

 

Due to lack of UID card, the staffers from various departments have not received their salary for the month of December 2012.

 

“The salary was stopped as per instructions from municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte and additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar. The staffers in question had not shown any interest in getting their cards despite being instructed about it time and again,” said a senior civic official.

 

In August 2011, as per the state government’s directive, BMC had issued a circular instructing its employees to register themselves for the card. Despite having allotted a year’s time to get the cards, the circular received poor response. The period to register for the Aadhaar cards was later extended by four months. Eventually, BMC stopped salaries of those employees.

 

According to another senior civic official, the employees can get their salaries by merely registering themselves for the card. “If they have registered for the cards, but have not received the same, they can still get their salaries by substantiating their registration for UID with their respective establishments,” he said. With several employees not taking the national programme of Aadhaar card seriously, the decision to stop their salaries is a good one, he added.

 

However, the circular has started a debate in civic corridors, with Municipal Mazdoor Union chief Sharad Rao terming the corporation’s decision as ‘illegal’. “They cannot stop salaries of employees like this. We are moving industrial court in this regard and will recover the salaries along with interest from the civic body,” Rao said.

 

The BMC, considered as the largest local governing agency in the country, has 1.11 lakh employees and spends an

 

Puducherry prescription: separate buses, hide girls in overcoats #WTFnews #Vaw #Moralpolicing


KAVITA KISHORE, The Hindu  , Jan 6, 2013

Education minister T.Thiyagarajan holds discussion with Principals of various government schools regarding the ' Safety Measures for Adolescent Students' in Puducherry on Saturday. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy
The HinduEducation minister T.Thiyagarajan holds discussion with Principals of various government schools regarding the ‘ Safety Measures for Adolescent Students’ in Puducherry on Saturday. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

Separate buses for schoolboys and schoolgirls, overcoats for girls, ban on mobile phones on campuses and restricted interaction of girls and boys — these are the steps the Puducherry government has decided on to enforce to prevent harassment of girl students.

The measures came after a meeting between Education Minister T. Thiagarajan and principals in the wake of the rape of a 17-year-old student by two men on Tuesday.

By reducing contact between boys and girls, it was possible to prevent basic misbehaviour and it would also reduce “temptation,” said an Education Department official.

Instead of ‘dupatta,’ a student should wear an overcoat. Squads would be formed to check use of mobile phones by students, Secretary of Education G. Ragesh Chandra told The Hindu. These guidelines were for both private and government schools and a similar meeting with college principals would be held next week, he said.

Principals’ suggestions

During the meeting, the principals emphasised need for greater interaction of parents and teachers, advanced intimation to parents if special classes were conducted and maintenance of a record of the mobile phones of parents and guardians so that they could be informed if their wards were not present.

The move for separate buses came after several principals voiced concern that “when boys and girls travel together, they often did not get off the bus even when their stop arrived,” Mr. Chandra said.

“Many principals also observed that boys and girls sat inside the bus even before classes were over for the day, as the buses are parked on school premises. By having separate buses, these activities could be prevented.”

The measures drew flak from academicians and activists.

 

#India-A letter to young men who protested against rape #Vaw #mustread #sundayreading


TABISH KHAIR, The Hindu

Give her her space. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
Give her her space. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

It’s good you took to the streets to protest not for yourself; still there is so much more you can do, says Tabish Khair.

It is good that you protested against a homicidal rape. I will not call it a “brutal rape”, because that would imply some rapes are not brutal. All rapes are equally brutal. It is not often that you have stopped to think of so many other rapes that take place in India (and in other countries too), but it is good you stopped to think this time. And you protested with real conviction. Let me reiterate it once more: It is good you protested for a change.

But protesting against this homicidal rape was easy. Now, before you, lie a number of acts which will prove far more difficult. For instance, you will have to learn to decline when your mother serves you food before she serves your sisters. Actually, to be honest, you will have to anticipate your mother and serve food yourself. You will need to help, equally, with the cooking, cleaning, washing up. What about the laundry? You probably have an ayah or a part-time servant, but still, you might have noticed that your mother and sisters do a lot of the domestic chores too. I won’t be so radical as to ask you to help the over-worked ayah — though that is something to consider too — but surely you need not watch TV or go off to the cricket club when your mother is putting away the dishes or stacking the clothing.

You will need to work very hard on it — not as a favour but as a habit. And believe me, such habits are not easy to cultivate when you have been brought up with decent Indian middle-class values.

But why should I target Indian values in particular? I have seen young men in places like England, Italy, France and even Denmark expecting their mothers — though less often their sisters — to take care of domestic chores. Do not, because you have grown up reading most books in English, assume that patriarchy is a problem only for India.

I recall seeing on Facebook, in the days when you were out on the streets protesting against the homicidal rape in Delhi, that you disliked the suggestion by a famous Indian writer that your passionate protests were motivated by class bias. I will not enter this complex matter here. It is sad that you have been deaf to so many rapes in remote, overlooked corners of our country, but that does not mean you do not deserve full credit for protesting this time. It is good you protested this time, at least.

But let not your protest be confined to middle class affinities. It is not true, as some of you wrote on Facebook, that the famous writer was wrong because it is middle-class women who smoke, drink and are accused of wearing sexy clothes anyway. No, middle-class women are strongly controlled by the forces of propriety in India. Some might react to this and smoke or drink, but this is very rare even in the big cities of India outside cosmopolitan circles.

Actually, it is working-class women in India who have traditionally smoked — and openly imbibed fermented drinks. You do not see them. They usually belong to the aboriginal tribes and the “scheduled castes”, and many of them have been “cured” out of such habits by missionary as well as middle-class propriety in the last few decades. But if you really look, you will still find some of them smoking bidison your streets.

You see you have fallen into the same trap as your opponents. There are frightened men (and women) who want to control women and inhibit their spaces in the name of protecting them. They say that Indian women do not smoke or drink. They are wrong: millions of Indian women have been smoking and drinking for centuries, and lakhs still do. As for “sexy clothes”, well, “sexy” is a strange word in a country where millions of women do not have enough clothes to wear. The fact is that Indian women, like Indian men, have traditionally worn a more varied assortment of clothes than the men and women of any other country!

You see, for centuries these “working” women have also been raped — by people like you, by people like me — for partly that reason. They were raped because their different lifestyles were considered a moral and social defect, which somehow “called for” such a brutal form of exploitation. They were raped because they were not given the right to say “no”.

So, yes, stand up for equal space for all women; their right to say no or yes; their right to wear saris or shorts. Do not stop your sister from going out in the evenings, if you yourself would go out in the evenings. Do not use fear as a weapon to control her. This takes effort too. Because finally, “rape” is a weapon that is brandished over the heads of all women who simply wish to have the space to live as fully as men do. Do not use it as an argument to curtail the lives of the women around you.

It was good to see you protest for women, and not just for yourself. But let it not end here. Look around you. Look into your families and do what you can there. Look into your neighbourhoods, and do what you can there. And forgive me if this sounds preachy, but I am talking from experience. It took me time to learn to iron my own clothes, wash my own dishes, and to cook for my family. It takes effort even today. I was not born with such habits. But I make an effort because I know that it is an example I can hand on to my son and, indirectly, my daughters.

Rape is the monstrous face of ordinary domestic injustices. Do not fall into the easy trap of blaming politicians for a flaw that exists in almost every home.

 

Press Release by Women with Disabilities India Network #delhigangrape


Last year  a young girl of 23 years died after being brutally raped in New Delhi. Her struggle lasted from 16 to 29th December 2012. Travelling with her friend who hailed a bus they were  brutally attacked by a group of six men, while the man was thrown off the bus, the woman was gang raped. The brutality perpetuated on the victim has outraged the nation.

We the ‘Women with Disabilities India Network’ join other women and concerned citizens in condemning the act.

We can understand the trauma faced by the young woman because we are targets of such violence each day in both public and private sphere.Such rapes are not isolated incidents, but are rather experienced in a continuum of violence. They happen within the homes, in buses and trains and in State run institutions for instance against women with mental illness and young girls with intellectual disability where rape is an everyday affair.    Rape by household members often remains unreported to avoid further stigmatization.

We believe that rape as a weapon of violence must be stopped and impunity enjoyed by perpetrators brought to an end. Impunity for the rape of women has become a national concern, because it compounds the effects of such violence. It intensifies the subordination and powerlessness of the targets of rape and sends a message to society that male violence against women is both acceptable and inevitable.

We urge that the cases of such heinous crimes be taken up and speedy action taken so that justice can be done.

We do not believe that death penalty is the answer as it reflects attention away from the violence perpetuated against us. This is especially the case when much of the violence perpetrators are mostly men from within families.  We aim for dignity and justice and safe homes, society and country. We believe that The normalcy and ethical acceptability of this violence must be challenged by the normative and ablest  attitudes

We must adopt laws and policies recognizing that all actions that violate women’s bodies are illegal.  Women must themselves be key decision makers in efforts to identify priority concerns and legal responses.

There is a need for further popular, police, and judicial training that builds specific cultural awareness   about disability issues  and legal knowledge on the issue.

Without such efforts, further elaboration of domestic and international, legal standards will fail women.

There has to be an appropriate strict punishment for all rapists, ensuring that they do not indulge in such activities again Concerns of deaf women in relation to rape came out very blatantly in our meeting in Delhi on 1st October 2012.
Since most disabled women are raped by men they trust the most who may be their family member’s or care givers (in institutes), there must be a mechanism set across the country where they can report such matters without the scare of any negative consequences. Also psychological and vocational support must be provided to such women.

Additional vulnerability of WWD is not recognized anywhere. I think that it must be recognized and addressed at all levels whether it be in the women commission, women groups and NGO programmes or any programmes and schemes instituted by the government.

Prepared by

Anita Ghai
Associate Professor
Fellow, Teen Murti (2009-2011)
IAWS president (2008-2011)
EC member IAWS (2011-2014)

Jeeja Ghosh
Head Advocacy and Disability Studies IICP,

Kolkata

Shivani Gupta

Founder and Chief Consultant

AccessAbility

New Delhi

Anjlee Agarwal
Executive Director & Access Consultant
Samarthyam
New Delhi

Smitha
DLU South
Chennai

Asha Hans
Former Prof & Director Women’s Studies
Utkal University
& EVP SMRC
Bhubaneswar

 

Wife’s duty is to perform household work and husband should earn: Mohan Bhagwat RSS Chief #WTFnews #Vaw


Dr. Mohan Madhukar Bhagawat is the sixth Sarsa...

Dr. Mohan Madhukar Bhagawat is the sixth Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday, January 06, 2013, 10:13

New Delhi: After creating a huge uproar by his remarks that rapes are rampant in India not Bharat, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has kicked-off a fresh controversy by saying that women should restrict themselves to household work and satisfy their husband.According to a CNN-IBN report, Bhagwat, while addressing a gathering in Indore, said that a man and his wife are bound by a contract and a woman’s duty is to take care of household tasks and a husband should earn and look after his wife.

IBN quoted RSS chief as saying, “There is a theory of social contract in the universe. A husband and a wife are bound by a contract which says – you (woman) look after the household chores and satisfy me, I (man) will take care of your needs and will protect you. Till she delivers her duties without fail, he keeps her on the contract and if she fails to honour the contract, he disowns her. And if it is the husband who is not honouring the contract, she can also abandon him. One can go for a new contract then.”

The controversial remarks comes two days after the RSS chief said, “Such crimes (rapes) hardly take place in ‘Bharat’, but they occur frequently in ‘India’.” Bhagwat had said this while he was speaking on the issues concerning women.

The ageing chief of the right-wing Hindu organisation also blamed the western culture and the excessive urbanisation for rising crimes against women.

During his speech, Bhagwat had said that those living in urban India are highly influenced with the ‘western’ lifestyle and culture and this could be one of the reasons for increasing crimes against women.

However, he said that there is no erosion of moral values among those living in the rural India. 

“You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values,” Bhagwat was quoted as saying by the media.

Reacting to the Bhagwat’s remarks, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had put up a brave defence, saying the statement should be seen in the proper context and he was referring to India’s culture, tradition and value system.

“The present controversy relating to certain comments of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is totally uncalled for and unnecessary. His comments are required to be seen and understood in entirety. He was referring to India’s sanskar, tradition and value system where respect for women occupies a pride of place,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad had said.

 

Scream if you are being sexually harassed, says Eve Ensler #Vaw


TNN Jan 5, 2013, 03.00AM IST

MUMBAI: Scream if you are being sexually harassed on a bus (or any public place), or at the workplace. “Screaming draws attention to what a man is doing, and if women start using it as self-defence, sexual harassment at the workplace will stop,” said Eve Ensler, playwright, actor and activist.

The author of Vagina Monologues and initiator of the One Billion Rising campaign against sexual harassment was speaking at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Savitri Phule Gender Resource Centre, which was celebrating the birth anniversary of Phule on Friday.

Ensler said she learned the screaming technique from two Kenyan women who teach self-defence.

Violence against women, she said, whether subtle (leering) or extreme (rape) sustains patriarchy and women have been trained to be quiet or make the best of the situation.

“We live in silence. Everything is allowed to happen as we choose to be silent,” she said, adding, “We are trained neither to protect ourselves nor our sisters and we are always afraid of losing our husband’s affections, promotions and afraid of being stigmatized.”

To fight sexual harassment, she said, women must band together as harassment is personal and thus not allowed to become political.

Ensler said she was sexually abused by her father and though her family knew about it, they chose to keep quiet. “Years later, when I came out and spoke publicly about it, my mother apologized, saying she had sacrificed me. I do not blame my family as they were part of a power structure trying to survive.”

For such “sacrifices” to stop, she said, women must stand up for each other. “We can’t do it alone as it is too scary. We get too isolated and can get hurt. But if we are unified, then they can’t hurt us,” she said.

“So, if you hear a woman scream, you scream too,” she signed off.

 

Congress not for chemical castration #goodnews #vaw #justice


PTI, The Hindu , Jan 5, 2012

The Congress on Saturday submitted its suggestions on stringent laws for crimes against women to Justice J.S. Verma Committee even as it disfavoured chemical castration of rapists.

Party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the suggestions were given to the panel set up in the wake of the gang-rape incident in Delhi that led to outrage across the country.

While details of the suggestions given to the committee were not immediately known, the party has been favouring imprisonment up to 30 years for rapists and setting up of fast-track courts as also redefining the juvenile act by reducing the age limit.

Leaders like Renuka Chaudhary had sought chemical castration of rapists but the party has made it clear that no such suggestion has been made by party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Ms. Gandhi recently held a meeting with top leaders as also experts for consultations over the issue. The suggestions were given a day after the party top brass, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gandhi, held deliberations.

The Verma Committee was set up on December 23 with a mandate to review the present statute so as to provide for speedier justice and enhanced punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault. The Committee has to submit its report in 30 days.