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Violence against women amidst pandemic: 600 rights groups seek gender segregated data

By Our Representative

More than 600 women’s groups, LGBTQIA communities, human rights organisations, trade unions and farmers’ organisations have demanded that the Government of India should set up a committee, with 50% women as members, for gender segregated data on severity of impact of pandemic on different sections of women, adding, a reliable and accurate data are necessary “to record all forms of gender-based, caste and religion-based violence.”
Stating that this is also essential in order to “formulate mitigation strategy”, releasing a charter of demands on a large number of issues, ranging from democratic rights and food security to right to life and safety, education, work, political participation health, etc., in a statement, especially notes with concern “non-implementation of existing laws to stop violence against women”, which have “increased during the lockdown”.
Insisting that there should be “special financial allocations to be made for the implementation of laws to prevent crime and violence against women based on of caste, class, religion and other social identities”, the statement insists on “a gender perspective in the provision of budgets and of economic and social security relief measures and in relief packages to protect vulnerable women.” 
The statement and the list of demands were released at a press meet addressed by civil rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Annie Raja, Kavita Krishnan, Leena Dabir, Shabnam Hashmi, among others.
Regretting that the Nirbhaya funds have lapsed twice already, the statement, which follows India-wide protests on September 5 under the banner #IfWeDoNotRise, marking the third martyrdom anniversary of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, demands allocation of “funds for infrastructure as well as for financial support to the women from the marginalised communities.”
The statement demands that “any discrimination, violence or stigmatisation of LGBTQIA persons must be penalised”, underlining, the government should “take back the rules of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2020, before they are passed by Parliament till the Constitutional challenge to the Act itself is resolved.”
The statement says, “Regressive laws like the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act have adversely impacted the rights of transgender persons. There are very few provisions in place to protect the safety and rights of the entire LGBTQIA community.”
Emphasising on the need to make the prevention and redress of violence against women (VAW) a key concern of the socio-economic and political agenda of the national plan, the statement wants implementation of “gender training to be made mandatory for the police personnel, the judiciary, the protection officers and other allied functionaries.” 
The statement says, “The growth of fascist and neo-liberal forces in the country, and the resulting rise in violence in society, has deeply impacted on the lives of women and members of the LGBTQIA communities”, even as there has been a sharp rise in “attacks on religious minorities”, creating “an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.”
The statement claims, the September 5 protest witnessed 2,670 physical protests with a participation of over 50,000 people across 28 states covering 245 districts, adding, approximately 2,000 ordinary people made videos on issues that perturbed them the most and they were uploaded on various social platforms. 513 prominent people did Facebook lives, thousands of new visuals, paintings, posters were created and shared.
Eminent personalities who participated in the campaign included Aparna Sen, Arundhati Roy, Mallika Sarabhai, Maya Rao, Harsh Mander, Nandini Sunder, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Purushottam Agarwal, Admiral Ramdas, Anjali Bhardwaj, Annie Raja, Kavita Krishnan, Gauhar Raza, Dr Syeda Hameed, Ram Puniyani, Jayati Ghosh, Teesta Setalvad, S Irfan Habib, among others.

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