As per the current statistics, each year, more than 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence. For every person who dies as a result of violence, many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems. Violence places a massive burden on national economies, costing countries billions of currency each year in health care, law enforcement and lost productivity
“Terrorist attack kills number of people in the capital...,” Bomb blast in Mumbai left the city disheveled..” , Bride tortured to death for dowry”, “School going kid succumbs to his injuries after beaten by father”, “A seventy year old man killed over property dispute”, “Harassment of men in Chandigarh ...”
All these and what not, turn to any newspaper at random and you would find the reports of such kind of violence all over the country. These are all what we come to know through different forms of media. There are more such cases which go unreported every day. In fact, include the cases which we our self indulge in, or the ones which we witness in the neighborhood but are hesitant in taking even a single step to reduce their occurrences.
In our society, violence is bursting. It is present almost everywhere and nowhere is this eruption more intense than right behind the doors of our homes. Behind closed doors of ethics and civilization, all across our country, people are being tortured, beaten and killed. It is happening in rural areas, towns, cities and in metropolitans as well. It is crossing all social classes, genders, racial lines and age groups. It is becoming a legacy being passed on from one generation to another. Violence has a tendency to explode in various forms such as physical, sexual or emotional.
A recent study has concluded that VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN is the fastest-growing crime in India. According to a latest report prepared by India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a crime has been recorded against women in every three minutes in India. Every 60 minutes, two women are raped in this country. Every six hours, a young married woman is found beaten to death, burnt or driven to suicide.
Terrorism and violence are on the rise. This is a global problem. Although intensities may differ, almost every country now faces such menaces. Suicide attacks are spreading fast, which adds a new dimension to the problem. Today terrorists may attack with weapons of mass destruction. Suicidal human carriers can strike any location with pin-point accuracy using a wide variety of dreadfully destructive weapons.
History shows that weapons or large militaries can stop terrorist-related violence. Use of force further hardens the terrorists. A recent example is Palestine and Israel. Israel is backed by the United States. Even with the support of this powerful nation, a mighty military force, and the use of all kinds of sophisticated weapons, Palestinian terrorists cannot be tamed.
There are other examples. Despite massive bombing and ground operations, Al Qaeda is still strong. In spite of prolonged confrontation with the Sri Lankan military, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are still a formidable force. The mighty Indian armed forces cannot curb terrorism in Kashmir. This list of failures goes on and on and leads to a simple conclusion– war, weapons, and militaries cannot bring peace.
The response to the phenomenon of violence is a typical combination of effort between law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, the courts and corrections/probation agencies. The role of all these has progressed over last few decades, and brought their activities in public view. Violence is now being viewed as a public health problem of epidemic proportion all over the world – and many public, private and governmental agencies are seen making huge efforts to control it in India. There are several organizations all over the world – government and non government – actively working to fight the problems generated by domestic and other forms of violence to the human community.
Unfortunately, at present there is a huge percentage of population that is not even aware of the provisions laid down by Indian Penal Code against Violence as a punishable crime, hence fail to report instantly against such occurrences. Most of it is due to the lack of faith in our Judiciary System. Awareness plays an important role in bringing the facts to the surface and actions henceforth.
In 1983, domestic violence was recognized as a specific criminal offence by the introduction of section 498-A into the Indian Penal Code. This section deals with cruelty by a husband or his family towards a married woman. The main legislative measures at the national level for the children who become a victim of child labor include The Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation Act -1986 and The Factories Act -1948. The first act was categorical in prohibiting the employment of children below fourteen years of age, and identified 57 processes and 13 occupations which were considered dangerous to the health and lives of children. The factories act again prohibits the employment of children less than fourteen years of age.
The Government of India passed a Domestic Violence Bill, 2001, “To protect the rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”*
An act called Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 [DVA, 2005] also has been passed”. This Act ensures the reporting of cases of domestic violence against women to a ‘Protection Officer’ who then prepares a Domestic Incident Report to the Magistrate “and forward copies thereof to the police officer in charge of the police station within the local limits of jurisdiction…”
Law against Violence in the name of religion or community discrimination is laid down under Section 153A of IPC which reinforces punishment for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing violent acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony .
As responsible citizens, we have to learn to practice our rights to bring the issues in the light and also take complete responsibility to that it is addressed in a proper channelized manner.
The role of non-governmental organizations in controlling the violence and curbing its worse consequences is crucial. Sakshi – a violence intervention agency for women and children in Delhi works on cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse and domestic abuse and focuses on equality education for judges and implementation of the 1997 Supreme Court’s sexual harassment guidelines. Women’s Rights Initiative – another organization in the same city runs a legal aid cell for cases of domestic abuse and works in collaboration with law enforcers in the area of domestic violence.
These NGOs continue to spread awareness amongst people regarding the legal rights they have in hand for fighting against the atrocities they are subjected to. They are encouraging more and more people to report any case of violence so that proper action may be taken against the culprits.
Police plays a major role in tackling the violence cases. They need to be sensitized to treat violence cases as seriously as any other crime. Special training to handle violence cases should be imparted to police force. They should be provided with information regarding support network of judiciary, government agencies/departments. Gender training should be made mandatory in the trainings of the police officers. There should be a separate wing of police dealing with women’s issues, attached to all police stations and should be excluded from any other duty.
Authorities should take steps to recognize Violence as a public health issue. A crisis support cell needs to be established in all major Government and Private Hospitals with a trained medical social worker for provide appropriate services. Training programs must be organized for health professionals in order to develop their skills to provide basic support for abused people. Documentation on the prevalence and the health consequences of domestic violence should be undertaken by the concerned government departments, health care institutions, NGOs and counseling centers. A nodal agency should also be set up for the annual consolidation of the documented work and publish the same for wider publicity among the masses for increasing awareness.
Having looked at a sensitive topic of “Violence in India”, we can sense the importance of discussion of such a topic. The varying causes which can spark the violence within the nation are to be analyzed thoroughly in order to make more provisions against such destruction. Violence may have a far wider and deeper impact in real life than it can be brought on papers. What is required is to see closely the association of the factors provoking a particular form of violence. If these factors can be controlled then more than one form of violence can be prevented from harming an individual or our society and India would be a much better place to live in.
- Deeksha Dudeja