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Consultative meet on rape, crime etc

Keviletuo, president Naga Hoho addressing the Consultative meet on Rape, Crime and Extortion at the Zonal Council Hall, Kohima Friday. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, MAY 15 (NPN):
Published on 16 May. 2009 12:57 AM IST
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A day-long brain storming consultative meeting on rape, crime and extortion organized by the Naga Hoho at the Zonal Council Hall Kohima concluded with a four-point resolution today. The consultative meet resolved to endorse the demand and resolutions of the Nagaland State Women Commission (NSWC) and all other women organizations pertaining to the past rape cases and urge upon the authorities responsible to deliver justice in letter and spirit. It also resolved to constitute an expert working committee on the three issues of Rape, Crime and Extortion and widen the process with inclusiveness and also to urge upon all political groups and government machineries to make taxation policies and make it public to ensure transparency. Representatives of most of the apex bodies, tribal Hohos, Church organizations, students’ bodies, legal bodies and individual social activists participated in the meet. Naga Hoho President, Keviletuo Kiewhuo in his keynote address reminded that the Nagas needed a vibrant and progressive society, at a time when they were talking so much on achieving the Naga political aspiration. He also called upon the Church to be more proactive in dealing with the issue of morality saying that no society has the authority to moral police. Alleging that the Church at times was afraid to bear the moral responsibility, he said it was time for the Church to speak out what was good and bad. On the judiciary, he said that the state government and judiciary at times were at loggerheads since judiciary thought that they were the ‘holy cow’ and that whatever judgment they gave was final. He also urged the gathering to deliberate on the various provisions of Article 371(A) of the Indian Constitution which granted the state a special status. On the rampant extortion in the name of taxations by various political groups, he said there needed to be a system and that the people should tell them that they would not allow extortion beyond certain system. “It’s not hard for the majority 90% of the population to rein on the remaining 10%,” he added. Speaking on behalf of the NSWC, its member Abeni TCK said “at no point of time in our history – as a Christian people and a State – have we gone so low in our morality as a people.” She shared the observations and suggestions of the NSWC after it interacted with victims, members of the judiciary, police, administrations and leaders of various organizations and different tribes. Some of the observations included laxity and leniency of the Naga customary laws which seemed to be in favour of men, toothless judiciary and policing system, lack of pressure from the public and civil societies, and increasing pornographic material invasion through different medium. It also suggested that the customary laws be reviewed and women included in drafting of amendments in customary laws. Naga Hoho along with other civic bodies should form pressure groups and cases such as rape must be decided within a stipulated time in a fast track court. It suggested that the families of accused and the victims should not be allowed to compromise or intervene into the judicial system. The pressure group must also pressurize the legislators to activate and exercise their political will and power to ensure speedy justice and that the government must provide adequate the compensation to the victims. It also suggested that the church body must not tolerate sin and evil in the society but speak up and stand for truth and justice without fear on the pulpits and address the morality issue. The pressure group must pressurize the administration for closure of video parlour that screens pornographic movies and also conduct raids in CD shops that sell pornographic materials. Further, sensitization of legal rights to all levels of the society must be carried out to sensitize the people of their rights to justice and that judiciary existed to safeguard the rights of the citizen. A lively discussion followed the presentation made by the NSWC member where representatives of various organizations shared their views and suggestion on varied issues. Women activist and president NUTA, Rosemary Dzüvichü pointed out that recent incidences have proved that government has totally failed. She pointed out that there was no remedial measure such as counseling centres for traumatized rape and molestation victim. She also pointed out that there were no compensation packages for such victim as made available in the state. She suggested that the victimized children should be given support to pursue their studies. She pointed out that even the Naga Hoho did not have a single women representative and suggested that women be included in drafting the Naga customary law. Convenor DBs & GBs Forum, Taku Longkumer suggested that rapist be given life imprisonment and that lawyers must not try to bail out the accused. He also felt that the abductions, extortions and killings carried out in the name of various group should be dealt like any other criminal and that the concerned group should terminate the service and award befitting punishment to those involved in such act. Former NSF president, Inaka said rape was mostly associated with alcohol and that the issue of prohibition should also be discussed. He said extortions were often linked only to those Naga underground political groups but added that there were also extortions by various government agencies, businessmen and bureaucrats and politicians. Similarly, NPMHR activist Dr. N. Venuh said there are three types of extortions today in the state – extortion with guns, extortion with pen and extortion with prayer. Advocate Joshua representing the Youth Net stressed the need for a uniformed common customary law to deal with the rape case. He also pointed out that the youths were involved in most cases of crime such as rape and extortions and stressed the need to analyse the root cause which prompts them to commit such crime. Advocate Kezhakhoto Savi, representing the Kohima Bar Association dwelt on the legal aspect of the Indian Penal Code under which crimes were dealt in the court of law. He pointed out that there were many who shout at the law enforcing agencies and the judiciary but in most cases there was no one to lodge complaint or file FIR on rape case. In this regard, he spoke on the importance of lodging complaints and filing FIR and also getting medical tests on time. Conviction of a rapist depends on the medical report, he added. Several others including representatives of Ao Senden, Watsü Mundang, Women Hoho, Sumi Hoho, Sumi Totimi Hoho, AWO, ENPO, ENWH, DNWH also took part in the discussions.

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