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Modi's Chai Pe Charch on women: Answer crucial issues, accept demands to end violence, says Sahiyar

0-6 sex ratio
By Our Representative
A top Varodara-based women’s group, Sahiyar Stree Sangathan, has alleged that the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is doing Chai Pe Charcha on International Women’s Day, March 8, from Delhi, is “nothing but yet another match-fixing gimmick by his spin masters, where he will answer few ‘pre-selected’ questions from ‘pre-selected women’ to show that he is addressing the actual concerns of Indian women." In its statement, Sahiyar said, Modi should "stop comparing" Gujarat women's safety with UP and Delhi, as women in Gujarat moved around freely before he came to power.
“If he really wants to have a meaningful charcha -- or discussion -- he should organise open live debate with representatives of women from Gujarat who are fighting for basic rights since years in Gujarat”, the organization said in the statement signed by Trupti Shah, Deelali Ghelani and Rita Choksi, adding, “He has never made the smallest move to engage with those fighting for women’s rights in Gujarat nor implemented fundamental laws passed by the Indian parliament for upholding constitutional right to life and liberty of a woman.”
Recalling that a year ago, a group of 40 women's organisations, civil society groups and aware citizens prepared and submitted charter of demands to the Government of Gujarat for taking concrete steps for the security of the women and implementation of constitutional guarantees for women and girls, it said, “Following the Delhi gang rape and increasing incidents of violence against women in Gujarat, women groups submitted a list of 34 demands, pointing out need for structural reforms in Police, Judiciary as well as administration.”
Suggesting that the Gujarat government’s response was “apathetic”, the statement says, “In April 2013 with signature of more than 37,000 women across Gujarat, a list of 10 fundamental demands was handed over personally to the Minister of Women and Child Development with an appeal to give time for discussion. Modi or his ministers never gave any time to discuss these issues to the groups nor responded or made any move for effective implementation of the laws.”
Saying that if Modi wants a real charcha, it points out, he should first answer:
* If women are really safe in Gujarat why the chid sex ratio is as low as 886 girls per 1000 boys in Gujarat?
* What is the status of Implementation of Domestic Violence Act, 2006?
* Why parents feel that girls are not safe in Gujarat?
* Why his own home department had to announce that tuition classes should not admit girls in early morning or late evening classes?
The statement further says, “Modi is comparing Gujarat with Delhi and UP and claims that Modi’s Gujarat is safest place for women. This is a wrong comparison. Gujarati women were moving out at night even before the political birth of Modi.” But now the “gravity of the situation is more evident -- especially when we compare the absolute numbers instead of the ratios”, the women’s group points out.
“In absolute numbers, 4,45,964 girls are less compared to boys as per 2001 Census. There is very marginal increase in the child sex ratio to 886 in 2011 but the gap in absolute numbers has increased to 4,54,396 in 2011, in spite of spending crores of rupees by the chief minister Modi in his flagship programme Beti Bachao”, the statement points out.
Pointing towards the poor status of implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, the statement says, “Women who approach the Protection Officer are given one to three months time for registering their complaint. There are no full time trained Protection Offices for implementation of Domestic Violence Act. The additional charge is given to the social welfare officer who is responsible for more than 20 schemes of the department of social welfare.”
It further said, “Recently few untrained fresh women were employed on contract basis”. Saying that these contractual employees do not have proper office space, vehicle or even stationary, the statement wants the state government to “effectively implementation of Vishakha guidelines and the recent law against sexual harassment at workplace, even in government offices.”
Sahiyar's main demands
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 Judgement. (Now, with the passing of The law Against Sexual harassment at Work place 2013 we are demanding the implementation of the law)
2. Police should take all cases of sexual harassment, sexual violence and assault with due seriousness. And any apathy/negligence on part of police force 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. The rape victim should be provided the interim relief and rehabilitation expense within three weeks and the rest of the money to 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 kind of violence on the lines of 108 ambulance service. The facility should ensure all kind of medical, legal, psychological and financial support to the victim.
8. A women 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 be gender sensitised and given regular training to ensure proper response to women 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.

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