Dec 23, 2012, 10.28PM IST TNN

GUWAHATI: Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover on Sunday said immunity given to the army and other Central Armed Police Forces under various acts should be abolished. The perpetrators accused of sexual violence belonging to these forces should be tried before ordinary criminal court, Grover, also a human rights’ activist, added.

Grover, while taking part in a discussion organized by Women in Governance (wing), a network of women fighting for women’s rights, said victims in the northeast and other conflict zones in the nation have been given a raw deal. She stressed on the prevention of shielding criminals in the army and security forces.

The discussion ‘Consultation on State, Sexual Violence and Impunity: Facts from the Field’ was held in view of the escalating violence against women and the July 13 incident of attempted rape of a girl by a soldier at Dolopa in Sivasagar district.

“Such heinous crimes question the morale of security forces. Afspa and other such acts provide systematic impunity to the perpetrators and each time such incidents occur, the security forces deny the allegations made against them and the women are not given justice,” said Grover.

She also stressed on the point that the impunity given to the forces in the conflict zones are at par with that of dealing with an external enemy. “All the cases of violence against women in these zones should be placed before an ordinary criminal court. Court martial provides little scope of justice for the victims. The United Nations have also said the court martial proceedings are unfair,” added Grover.

Criticizing the attitude of the army and security forces in handling cases of sexual attack on women, Grover said, “These institutions give excuses saying boys will be boys and that soldiers have been away from their homes for too long.”

Grover, in the discussion, laid emphasis on the requirement of meticulous documentation and the need to expose and push the system. “We should keep filing cases against the army and security forces when such incidents occur so that these institutions can be exposed and embarrassed. The RTI gives broad strokes,” she said.

The activist said it is important for the conflict zones to learn from one another through different case studies and the similarity of the regions on the legal front. “The people need to speak about Afspa as there is a lack of understanding of the act and some people at the helm of affairs are quite ignorant,” said Grover.

Speaking on the Delhi gang rape incident, Grover was critical of a politician, who called the rape victim a living corpse. She added that politicians do not take violence against women seriously.

“Women are not part of the political constituency. There is a need for certainty of punishment, but not severity of punishment. Women have never considered themselves as goddesses, but only to be treated at equal par with men. We don’t want Dabbang men, only considerate men,” Grover added.