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Mumbai reacts with shock and anger, says tough laws not enough

Aug. 24, 2013

Shock and anger over the gangrape of a photojournalist was palpable across the city on Friday. From the head of the Catholic Church to lawyers and women activists, each condemned the crime in the strongest possible terms. The archbishop of Bombay , Oswald Cardinal Gracias, was aghast at the way a young photojournalist on assignment was attacked. "We as a society must rethink how we treat our women. In fact, just 10 days ago, I met with the principals of our schools with a plan to include lessons on gender sensitivity in classrooms ," the Cardinal said.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has announced an inquiry to be chaired by former Mumbai mayor Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar . "We will network with the State Commission for Women and the police to ensure there is no lacuna in recording and presenting evidence. I am meeting the victim and her family to offer our full support during the fast-track trial," Prabhavalkar said. Advocate Abha Singh said, "Merely making laws is not going to prevent rape. Effective implementation and timely conviction will instill fear of law in men who perpetrate crimes against women." She feels that for such serious cases of gangrape, there should be special rules of investigation and evidence on the lines of MCOCA.

Lawyer and women's rights activist Flavia Agnes said preventive measures need to be reinforced. She said, "We tend to react only after an incident like this occurs . The media, government authorities and police must together focus on preventing such situations from coming to pass. Spend money, erect hoardings and inform the public of its responsibility. Exhort citizens to respond promptly and try to stop crime before it occurs rather than be mute bystanders."

Flavia recalls the horrific rape of a 13-year-old child aboard a local train on Independence Day 2002.

Source: Times of India

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