Monday, March 25, 2013

Gujarat women's groups demand immediate implementation of the demands for justice and security

Women representatives in Gujarat Sachivalaya premises
By Our Representative 
More than 50 representatives of the women’s organizations from 13 districts of Gujarat have submitted a letter of demand to minister for woman and child development, Gujarat government, Ganpatbhai Vasava, asking for taking “immediate steps for upholding the Constitutional Rights and security of women and girls in Gujarat.” Signed by more than 38,500 women and aware citizens of Gujarat, the representatives particularly pressed on the minister to implement 10 basic demands immediately, with a time bound action plan for the remaining ones. “Government of Gujarat should immediately make announcement for budget to implement the Gujarat high court order dated February 22 for the proper implementation of Domestic Violence Act”, a joint statement issued after the meeting said. “A charter of demands prepared by them was sent to the Government of Gujarat on January 24, 2013 for taking concrete steps for the security of the women and implementation of constitutional guarantees for women and girls”, the statement said, adding, “Recently, following the Delhi gang rape as well as growing incidence of violence against women in Gujarat, women groups across the state prepared a list of 34 demands pointing out need for structural reforms in police, judiciary and the administration. Yet, the state government’s latest state budget failed to give adequate response to the demands.”
As a result, the statement said, across Gujarat, in several villages, cities and tribal areas, a signature campaign has been undertaken to get support from thousands of women and progressive men for the charter of demand seeking time bound concrete action on the part of the state government. Copy of the demands has been sent to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and the state law department for perusal and further action.
Major demands needing immediate implementation, put forward by the representatives, are:
1. Sexual harassment committees be formed in all government, public offices as well as the educational institutes as per the guidelines provided in the Vishakha judgment.
2. Police should take all cases of sexual harassment, sexual violence and assault with due seriousness and any apathy/negligence on part of the police force should be punished with strict action against the errant.
3. CCTVs should be installed in all police stations so as to record that police are functioning properly.
4. Instead of imposing bans, restricting movement of girls and women in public places, the government should ensure safety for them at all times.
5. Fast track courts should be established separately to handle cases of violence against women.
6. Rape victims should be provided the interim relief and rehabilitation expense within three weeks and the rest of the money should be provided without delay to facilitate the victim in her legal fight.
7. Round-the-clock service connected with the police stations to ensure all possible support to women/girl victims of all kinds of violence on the lines of 108 ambulance service should be provided. The facility should ensure all kinds of medical, legal, psychological and financial support.
8. A woman victim of violence should get priority in availing mental and physical medical help in all government hospitals irrespective of the fact whether police complaint has been lodged or not.
9. Police force in all ranks should be gender sensitized and given regular training to ensure proper response to woman victims of violence.
10 To ensure transparency as well as accountability in police services across the state, women's group should be made party to the regular review process.
The statement carries following details, suggesting gross gender discrimination prevailing in Gujarat:
· As per Census 2011, of the 74,94,176 total number of children in age group 0-6 years in Gujarat, 39,74,286 were boy and 35,19,890 were girls.
· In 2001 4,45,964 less girls and in 2011, there are 4,54,396 less girls compared to boys in Gujarat.
· In the year 2011, in Gujarat 8815 cases of violence against women reported.
· From these 8815 cases, 439 cases of rape, 1442 abduction, 30 dowry deaths, 6052 cases of physical and mental cruelty by in-laws (Sec. 498-A), 685 cases of Criminal assault or criminal force to outrage the modesty of women (Sec 354), 93 cases of word, gesture or act to insult the modesty of a women (sec. 509), 28 cases of Immoral Traffic Act, 46 cases of prohibition of dowry Act. The cases which never reach the police station may be many fold.

The statement was prepared by following organizations: Anandi (Ahmedabad), Safar (Ahmedabad), Sahrwaru (Ahmedabad), Utthan (Ahmedabad), Centre for Equity Studies (Sabarkantha), Nirmal Samaj Kendra (Vadodara), Mahila Swaraj Manch (Bhavnagar), Centre for Social Justice (Bharuch), Vidyadeep Community College (Bharuch), Sewa Rural (Jhagadia), Sahiyar Stree Sangathan (Vadodara), Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (Bhuj), Swati (Surendranagar), Olakh (Vadodara), Unnati (Ahmedabad),
and Behavioral Science Centre (Ahmedabad).

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