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Delhi activists detained for protesting Madhya Pradesh move to 'track, surveil' women

By Our Representative

About 40 women’s rights activists were detained soon after they reached the Madhya Pradesh Bhawan in Delhi to protest against chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s proposal for "tracking" and "surveilling" women, purportedly for their safety. Those detained by the Delhi Police included Maimoona Mollah, Shabnam Hashmi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Poonam Kaushik , Deepti Bharti, Ritu Kaushik, Asha Sharma, Madhuri Varshney , Seema Joshi and Amrita Johri.
Detained at the Mandir Marg police station for several hours, they had reached the Madhya Pradesh Bhawan following a call given by women’s groups, including Abhyudaya, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, All-India Democratic Women's Association, All India Mahila Samskritik Sanghatan, All India Progressive Women's Associatio, Akhil Bhartiya Dalit Lekhika Manch, Anhad, Indian Christian Women's Movement, Mother Teresa Foundation, Muslim Women Forum, National Federation of Indian Women, Pehchan , Pragarisheel Mahila Samiti and Saheli.
In a joint statement, the women’s organisations said, “Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reportedly said he was in favour of a system being put in place under which women who live outside their houses for work can register themselves at a local police station “and she will be tracked for her safety. We reject any such proposal.”
The statement said, objecting the thinking behind such draconian and paternalistic initiatives”, the adding, “Surveillance and tracking in the guise of ensuring safety will adversely impact women’s autonomy and freedoms. The state has witnessed horrific crimes against women in the recent past. The Chief Minister should focus on improving law and order, making local infrastructure and public spaces safe for women.”
Also asking Chauhan to ensure “effective investigation and prosecution in cases of crimes against women”, the statement said, “This surveillance proposal is just a means to divert from the governance failures in the state. We condemn this proposal to exercise control over women in the guise of their safety and call upon the chief minister to publicly rescind his comments.”

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