As appeared in India Today Website:
With a large number of men falling victim to “gender-biased laws”, an organisation fighting for “male rights” demanded here Sunday that a “Ministry of Men’s Welfare” be set up to look into long neglected issues that affect them.
Quoting National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, men’s rights organisation Hridaya said a large number of men were falling victim to “legal terrorism” perpetrated through “anti-male and anti-family laws”, and demanded that gender-biased laws be made gender-neutral.
“Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (husband or relative of husband subjecting woman to cruelty) and the Domestic Violence Act are being widely misused, and men are now facing legal terrorism. Going by the NCRB data, in 2012, after theft and hurt, the most number of cases were filed under 498 A,” Hridaya secretary Amit Gupta said at an event organised to raise awareness about International Men’s Day to be celebrated world over Nov 19.
“Ironically, with over a lakh cases filed under the section during 2012, conviction only happened in 6,916 cases. The largest number of such cases were either dismissed or withdrawn,” said Gupta, stressing the need for reviewing the law which deals with cases of women being subjected to cruelty, and carries a prison term of three years.
Gupta also said that contrary to popular belief, a large section of married men are victims of domestic violence. He said 63,343 married men committed suicide in 2012, with a fair amount of them having faced domestic problems.
The non-government organisation, in a recent survey, found that married men subjected to domestic violence often live in denial, while around 84 percent of men said domestic violence against men was “funny”.
“After over six decades of independence, not a single study has been undertaken to look at issues faced in the domestic sphere by men. While we are not against the female population, and we are not against laws protecting them, what we want is a Ministry of Men’s Welfare to look into the issues we men face,” Gupta said.
D.S. Rao, president of the organisation, said that on International Men’s Day, the organisation will hold countrywide programmes to highlight issues that affect men and demand that “anti-male” laws be made gender-neutral.
“We want the law to confer protection upon men against verbal, emotional, economic, physical and sexual abuse at home as well as at the workplace,” Rao said.