Skip to main content

NGOs come together to rescue migrant tribal victims of sexual harassment in Gujarat

Tribal mother and daughter, rescued by NGO
By Sudhir Katiyar*
One of the key issues faced by migrant tribal community in Gujarat is the safety of the women folk. The tribal workers live in an isolated setting at the farm houses located in remote locations with no connect with the outside world except through the employer farmer. Incidents of sexual harassment of female workers are routine including extreme events like rape.
In addition to the sexual harassment faced by the female workers, another issue faced by the migrant tribal community is enticement of female workers by the farmer community males. The Patel community that employs the workers has one of the lowest sex rations leading to an acute shortage of girls of marriageable age. A recent report estimated the sex ratio in Patel community to be as low as between 650-700 against an average of 909 for the state.
This phenomenon is illustrated by a recent incident in Jaitpur taluka of Rajkot district. Bhaki Ram from Pati taluka in Badwani district of Madhya Pradesh was working at a farm in village Bheda Pipariya of Jaitpur taluka of Rajkot district for three months with his wife Punabai and nine-year old daughter Renu.
On December 15 he went back to get his other siblings, who were staying back at home, enrolled in a school. When he came back, he found his wife and daughter missing. He reported the matter to the local police station on December 22 naming his ex-employer of Parab Vavri village in Bhesan taluka of Rajkot district where he had worked earlier as the likely person to have taken away his wife and daughter. He requested that the duo be produced to know if they went of their own free will. However, the police did not take any action for three weeks.
Then Bhaki Ram contacted a local organization, the Jagrit Dalit Adivasi Sangthan (JDAS) in his home district that in turn contacted Govabhai of the Majur Adhikar Manch (MAM), a state level union of informal workers in Gujarat. MAM has been working for last six months to establish a network of grassroots organizations working in source and destination areas to form a network that can provide support to migrant workers.
Govabhai put them in touch with the Saurashtra Dalit Sangthan (SDS), Junagadh. An eight-member team from JDAS reached Saurashtra and met Devenbhai of SDS. A joint delegation went to the police station Jaitpur on January 3 demanding that an FIR be filed. 
Under pressure from the team, police the produced the farmer and missing mother and daughter in the police station on January 4. While Punabai decided to stay back with the farmer, the nine-year old daughter chose to go with the father. She was accordingly handed over to the father.
The case illustrates that it is possible to create links between grassroots organizations working in source and destination areas to provide support to migrant workers. Many of the atrocities faced by the migrant tribal community arise from the reality that the employers know that the workers have no support in areas where they are employed. Actions like this will go a long way in changing this reality and reducing atrocities on migrant workers.
---
With the Centre for Labour Research and Action, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

Junk food push causing severe public health crisis of obesity, diabetes in India: Report

By Rajiv Shah  A new report , “The Junk Push: Rising Consumption of Ultra-processed foods in India- Policy, Politics and Reality”, public health experts, consumers groups, lawyers, youth and patient groups, has called upon the Government of India to check the soaring consumption of High Fat Sugar or Salt (HFSS) foods or ultra-processed foods (UPF), popularly called junk food.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

Astonishing? Violating its own policy, Barclays 'refinanced' Adani Group's $8 billion bonds

By Rajiv Shah  A new report released by two global NGOs, BankTrack and the Toxic Bonds Network, has claimed to have come up with “a disquieting truth”: that Barclays, a financial heavyweight with a “controversial” track record, is deeply entrenched in a “disturbing” alliance with “the Indian conglomerate and coal miner Adani Group.”

Modi govt intimidating US citizens critical of abuses in India: NY Christian group to Biden

Counterview Desk  the New York Council of Churches for its release of an open letter calling on the Biden administration to “speak out forcefully” against rising Hindu extremist violence targeting Christians and other minorities in India. In the letter addressed to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other major elected officials, the NY Council of Churches expressed "grave concern regarding escalating anti-Christian violence" throughout India, particularly in Manipur, where predominantly Christian Kuki-Zo tribals have faced hundreds of violent attacks on their villages, churches, and homes at the hands of predominantly Hindu Meitei mobs.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Link India's 'deteriorating' religious conditions with trade relations: US policymakers told

By Our Representative  Commissioners on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) raised concerns about the “sophisticated, systematic persecution” of religious minorities by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a hearing on India in Washington DC.

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

MS Swaminathan Counterview Desk In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers. Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’. Pointing ou

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Jharkhand: Attempt to create red scare for 'brutal crackdown', increase loot of resources

Counterview Desk  The civil rights group Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization in a statement on plans to crackdown on “64 democratic progressive organisations” in Jharkhand under the pretext of the need to investigate their Maoist link, has alleged that this an attempt to suppress dissent against corporate loot and create an authoritarian state.