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In Major Victory For Women, India Establishes Zero Tolerance For Violence Against Women

In a rare but much needed move, the Indian government has pledged a zero tolerance policy for violence against women, and committed the country to revamp its criminal laws regarding rape and to improve health care for women in the region.

Following pressure stemming from the story that two young girls had been gang raped and murdered, President Pranab Mukherjee laid out his ruling right-wing party's agenda, including a series of reforms aimed at combating India's increasing instances of sexual assault and the court system's ineffective procedures for prosecuting the perpetrators.

The government will have a policy of zero tolerance for violence against women and will strengthen the criminal justice system for its effective implementation.

The government, now controlled by the Bharatiya Janata party, which is led by Narenda Modi, specifically promised to ensure that every home in the 1.25 billion-populated country had a toilet.

Many people currently are without toilets or other means of sanitation, and openly defecate on the streets. Women often go out in fields when it's dark to use the bathroom for reasons relating to modesty, but this makes them especially vulnerable to assault.

The president also said that he had reserved 33 percent of the seats in parliaments and state assemblies for women, in order to allow female issues to be properly represented at the lawmaking level.

This seems like a necessary and positive change because recently it seems it's often the Indian legislators — like the politician who asserted that rape was "sometimes right" or the officer who advocated the hanging of raped women — whose views need the most rehabilitating.

via The Guardian, Photo Credit: Getty Images