‘Government failing to tackle crimes against women in Manipur’

Imphal, March 8 (IANS) Manipur legislators and government have been failing to take effective measures against the increasing crimes against women, said a network of social organisations on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“During the recent budget session, the MLAs held a detailed discussion on the Manipuri pony. But they had no time to speak a word on the appalling crimes against women. They are more interested in saving the pony than the women,” Mangshatabam Sobita, the convener of United NGO Mission Manipur, said here in a statement after a meeting of the organisation.

United NGO Mission Manipur describes itself as a network of 235 peoples’ organisations in the state that opposes Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 and works to promote respect for human rights.

While the state recorded as many as 85 heinous crimes against women in a short period from January 1, 2016 to March 5 this month, the police performance in solving the cases has been far below the mark, said the Mission’s statement.

“There were five rapes during this period and one victim was later murdered. There was another attempted rape. Three women mysteriously died while two others committed ‘suicide’. One woman was murdered and three others escaped with injuries. One six-year- old rape victim was murdered. Three girls were molested and 22 others assaulted,” said Sobita, providing details of some of the crimes.

The Mission’s meeting resolved to demand funds for giving pension to various categories of women, compulsory education for girls till 20 years of age, and repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

The activists also expressed the fear that in the absence of the state failing to act against criminals, the armed insurgent groups could start delivering their own summary “justice” to the accused.

In the past, insurgent groups were known to have killed persons accused of committing sexual offences against women.

Such extra-judicial activities have now stopped, but there are enough signs that they may start again.

A few weeks ago, for instance, one banned underground organisation said that it may start taking drastic action against criminals.

The activists have also expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the three female members of the Manipur Assembly whom they accuse of remaining mute spectators to the crimes committed against women.

Another grievance of the activists has been the treatment of “juveniles” who committed heinous crimes. They say that some rapists who even murdered their victims were lodged as juveniles based on school certificates.

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