DAY – 1
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Hyderabad, organized a two-day National Seminar on “Violence against Women: Changing Perceptions of Crime and Punishment” during 29-30 March, 2013. A number of distinguished scholars from different parts of the country have participated and presented their papers in the Seminar. In the welcome address, Prof G. Sudarshanam, Convenor of the Seminar and Coordinator of the Centre for Human Rights (University of Hyderabad), introduced the central theme of the Seminar to the audiences. In his address he talked about the need to understand changing perceptions of crime and punishment that is taking place against women in our society. He also stressed upon the need for the debate on how to reform our society and role of civil societies and political parties in curtailing the violence against women.
The Inaugural session was chaired by Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad. While chairing the session Prof. Ramaswamy referred the point of anger and the need for debate over the crimes against women in the country especially after the December 2012 Gang Rape incident in Delhi.
The Key Note address was delivered by Hon’ble Justice Chandra Kumar, Judge, High Court of Andhra Pradesh. He highlighted the constitutionally guaranteed rights for the citizens and stressed upon the need to trace the historical roots of the problem of crimes and violence against women. He also called for social responsibility.
Prof. G. Haragopal, former Dean, School of Social Science, UoH has addressed the gathering on the capacity of Guest of Honour. In his address Prof. Haragopal spoke about judicial autonomy and the important role of judiciary in guaranteeing the rights to the women in particular and imparting justice to the innocent victims. He also emphasised upon the role of civil society in the present era.
Dr. N. Chaitanya Pradeep, University of Hyderabad, proposed vote of thanks.
The first technical session of the seminar titled “Discrimination and Violence against Women: Socio-Economic Dimensions” was chaired by Prof. Alladi Uma, (Alladi Memorial Trust). The session discussed about creating a feminists spaces to deal with the issue of violence against women. Several scholars including Prof. Rekha Pande discussed about empowerment of women. Other issues like women and child trafficking, rights of the trafficked were discussed. It is argues that rescue policies needs to be reformulated.
The Second session focussed on “Domestic Violence and Violence at Workplaces” and was chaired by Prof. Aparna Rayaprol (Dept. of Sociology, UoH). The session discusses in detail about the female foeticide; how women are victimized at the workplaces by their male employers; the problem of alcoholism and domestic violence against tribal women among the Khasis of Meghalaya; how the Indian women are getting trapped in fraudulent marriages in the name of NRI Marriage and in agricultural activities how on the basis of gender occupation are being segregated.
The theme of the Third Session was “Caste, Gender and Violence” and the session was chaired by Sri D. Chakrapani IAS (Retd.) In this session few case studies of crimes against women were presented. The session also discussed about how the gender biasness is reflected in the governmental policies in the name of development and emphasised the need to have a constructive approach where Police, Society and Judiciary needed to be more sensitive towards women issues.
Second day of the Seminar too had a number of interesting papers. Session Four began with the theme “Violence against Women: Legal Dimensions”, chaired by Sri. Kamal Kumar IPS (Retd.). The session deliberated in detail about how the absence of law in ART Industry in India promoted the nation into a centre for cheap ART service; the situation/sufferings of women prisoners in the prisons; acid attacks on women in India and how sex workers conditions were unrecognised.
Session Five was on “The Role of Criminal Justice System: Judiciary and Police”, the session was chaired by Prof. Sunita Rani (Dept. of English, UoH). The session had a presentation on the cases of police atrocities; role of women organisations in Kashmir and the forms of resistance that women have undertaken during the conflicts in Kashmir; how judicial investigations are gender biased; negative impact of moral policing and the experiences of women in shelter home in Assam were discussed.
The last session of the Seminar was on the “Role of Civil Societies and Media” and the session was chaired by Sri. B. Chandrasekhar Rao (Dept. of Political Science, UoH). The session had a discussion in-depth on the role of media in generating awareness among the people; both the aspects of media (positive+negative) were discussed. The session emphasised on the need to find out the psychological and social reasons for the occurrence of rape. The cases of Mayangkokla and Manorama were narrated and the conditions of devadasis in Southern India were discussed.
The Valedictory session was chaired by Prof. Aloka Parasher Sen (Dean, School of Social Sciences, UoH). She talked about the significance to hold such kind of seminars and emphasised the need to organise many more seminars on women related issues.
The Chief Guest of the Valedictory Session was Prof. V.S Prasad, Former Director, NAAC, Former Vice-Chancellor, BRAOU. In his Valedictory address Prof. Prasad said that crimes against women in the society reflect the failure of state, social and political institutions. He emphasised on the role of education in creating awareness in the society and bringing social transformation. He further said educational institutions have to play a transforming role. The collective activity of the student’s community will provide a positive change in the society.
The Summary Report on the two-day Seminar was presented by Mr. Sheikh Rafiq Ullah and the Vote of Thanks for the Valedictory Session was proposed by Ms. Anitha Kumari Pradhan.