chapter  3
Legal means and regulatory mechanisms
Pages 26

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon once rightly observed, “It is time to break through the walls of silence, and make legal norms a reality in women’s lives.” Following the line of these thoughts, this chapter explores the existing legal means and regulatory mechanisms for women in the vulnerable pockets of North-East India with special focus on the conflict zones of Assam. It seeks to explore various preventive measures operating in the conflict-prone areas from two different angles: individual and societal. These include existing international initiatives to benefit women in conflict and actions taken by central and state governments on various welfare measures related to women and members of the banned militant groups such as United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), along with many other minor organizations. The initiative of state governments including Assam police to help women in vulnerable areas are critically analyzed. The role of legal means as redress for wives of extremists and women cadres caught in Assam after ‘Operation All Clear’ of 2003 is also analyzed along with women’s petitions. The legitimization of various repressive laws and their judicial sanction are also interrogated. Whether the introduction of these mechanisms shifts the ground reality or the lives of women in Assam and North-East India is one of the pertinent questions. The lacunae in the existing justice system and the importance of transitional justice along with gender justice are also stressed.