Kerala Sthree Vedhi has demanded strengthening of panchayat vigil committees to check increasing incidents of atrocities against women.

Elaborating on the demands raised by the vedhi in connection with the election to the local bodies, K. Ajitha, renowned social activist and a convener of the vedhi, said here on Thursday that these committees have to be revamped to prevent attacks against women.

Recommending that the samithi should have a doctor of the primary health centre in each region as a member, she said that the committees should also provide support to women and children who face assaults due to the alcohol abuse among men.

Pointing out that woman who get elected to the local bodies should voice support for cancelling the license of liquor shops responsible for law and order problems in each panchayat, Ms. Ajitha said that they should also oppose the dowry system. The women should initiate action against those involved in dowry cases, she said.

Soniya George, convener of the vedhi, said that the women members should take the lead in forming anti-harassment committees in each panchayat besides organising programmes against inflation. Requesting the women members to exert pressure on the government to initiate stringent action against those involved in clearing paddy fields and wetlands, Ms. George said that the women members should also raise the problems being faced by adivasis in the State.

Jyothi Narayanan of the vedhi urged the women representatives to oppose displacement of people in the name of development. She said that women members could also play an effective role in checking encroachment of rivers and pollution.