Sub: International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) will jail more innocent citizens and break more families.
Dear United States Senator/Representative,
I am writing on behalf of All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA), the True Equity Network (TEN) India, and Andhra Pradesh Mothers-in-law Protection Association (APMPA), to urge you to stop the passage of I-VAWA.
I urge you to consider the present situation in India which has resulted from the export of anti-male, anti-family laws and policies from the United States.
Indian laws against domestic violence are irrational and discriminatory, and blatantly violate provisions of the Indian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Most importantly, the implementation of such laws depends on a law enforcement system and judiciary which are replete with corrupt officials who, for their own monetary gains, embolden women to take undue advantage of the credibility granted to them by Indian law.
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.”
However, Indian laws against domestic violence presume that the accused is guilty until proven innocent and violate universal principles of fair trial.
• Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.
However, every year, over 100,000 innocent persons (one innocent person every 5 minutes) are arrested under IPC Section 498A, including 4,000 innocent senior citizens (one innocent elderly person every 2.5 hours) and 350 children (one child per day) without evidence or investigation.
• The Universal Declaration of Human rights states that “all are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution declares that “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”
However, Indian laws against domestic violence blatantly deny protection to men against any form of domestic abuse, and every year, over 56,000 married men commit suicide due to verbal, emotional, economic and physical abuse and legal harassment.
• Indian laws against domestic violence are touted as tools for women’s protection and empowerment.
However, in the last four years alone, over 124,000 women have been arrested under IPC Section 498A alone, without evidence or investigation, not for committing any crime under law, but only because they were related to a man.
The export of destructive feminist ideologies and anti-family laws has broken many Indian homes, depriving thousands of children of a healthy childhood. Men and women are being forced to spend their most productive years in vexatious litigations, thus wasting valuable financial and human resources, which could otherwise have been spent for the benefit of our country.
In the present circumstances, we are forced to conclude that the United States is deliberately imposing policies and laws to cripple countries like India, and this is equal to cutting off a branch while sitting on it.
India is a country well-known for her intellectual and human resources, and her citizens have been making phenomenal contributions to the progress of the United States during the last five decades.
We urge the Government of the United States to refrain from exporting any more of its failed policies to India, as it will not only hurt India, but also the United States, and thereby, the relationship between the two countries.
We urge you to understand the gravity of the situation and stop the passage of I-VAWA.
All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA)
Below is a letter I had presented to all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the year 2007 in Washington DC:
13 April, 2007
Subject: Please stop I-VAWA
Senators Biden and Lugar,
Domestic violence is a serious problem faced by men, women, and children. However, laws against domestic violence all over the world, confer legal protection only to women, often violating the civil rights of men and children. Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and The Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act are similar laws which assume that:
· victims of domestic violence or marital cruelty are always women; the aggressors being always a man and his family.
· women are always honest victims, and, hence, requiring proof of their claims is unnecessary.
· the accused man and his family are guilty until proven innocent.
The implementation of these laws depends on a heavily corrupt law enforcement system which encourages women to take undue advantage of the credibility granted to them by law. The absence of penalty for filing false cases only makes matters worse.
Every year, there is a rising number of cases fabricated by wives only to threaten, extort money from, and wreak revenge on husbands and their relatives, in case of marital discord. According to the data obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs, in the year 2005 alone, 58,319 cases were registered under charges of cruelty by husband and relatives (IPC 498A), and resulted in the arrest of 127,560 individuals including 339 children and 4512 adults over the age of 60. Less than 10 percent of the cases resulted in conviction of the accused.
Misuse of Indian women-protection laws has been noted by various authorities:
- The Supreme Court of India termed the misuse of IPC 498A as “Legal Terrorism”, and the Delhi High Court termed it “the most abused provision”.
- The Delhi high court has also noted the “flagrant abuse” of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
- The World Health Organization, in its Report on India clearly cited Section 498A as one of the major reasons for the “Increasing Abuse of the Elderly in India”.
- A study by The Center for Social Research (India) indicates that 98% of cases filed under IPC 498A are baseless.
- News reports also revealed that many falsely charged, poor and illiterate women are languishing in prison every year.
- The passports of falsely accused Indians living abroad are being impounded. Many such Indians have lost their overseas jobs, and are unable to return to their respective countries of residence outside of India.
- Other Indians live abroad in fear, separated from their loved ones in India. Interpol Red Corner Notices are being misused against them to force them to return to India.
Many individuals have ended their lives unable to endure the humiliation of being arrested and the trauma of fighting false cases, which typically span 5-7 years.
India has witnessed the arrest and incarceration of several thousands of innocent citizens, whose human rights have been blatantly violated in the name of women-protection laws. While the flaws in Indian laws and law enforcement system remain unchecked, we are faced with a new, yet similar Bill, I-VAWA.
Members of Save Indian Family Foundation request you, Senator XXX, to understand that I-VAWA, if enacted, will only add to the list of laws that are prone to misuse in India. I-VAWA will only harm more families and destroy lives of many Indian men, women and children.
On behalf of Save Indian Family Foundation, I strongly urge you to NOT support the International Violence Against Women Act.
Save Indian Family Foundation