Several friends, well-wishers issue public statement in her support
NEW DELHI: Expressing solidarity with Lotika Sarkar, the wife of the late eminent journalist Chanchal Sarkar, several of her friends and well-wishers on Monday demanded that her property be transferred back to her and she be allowed to live her life in peace and serenity.
Issuing a public statement at a press conference here, Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Mohan Rao said: “We all demand that Lotika Sarkar’s property be transferred back and her assets handed over to her to allow her to live a life in peaceful serenity. She is assured that she would not be harmed and harassed. She should return to her home safe and secure as owner of the house with full rights of residence and life.”
Recalling his decade-old association with Lotika Sarkar, a former Delhi University law professor and a pioneer in the field of women’s studies and human rights, Dr. Rao said: “It must be remembered that we are not talking of any old, frail woman but one who is perhaps the first woman to light the funeral pyre of her father. She is an extraordinary woman and has supported us in our several health care movements. We are here to express deep concern over the manner in which she has been deprived of her right to stay in her own house. It is inconceivable that she would have willingly gifted the house, her only security in her old age, to someone.”
Referring to Ms. Sarkar as a woman with a “large heart” and a “sharp mind”, Centre for Women’s Development Studies vice-chairperson Kumud Sharma said: “It is sad to know that she has to deal with such unscrupulous elements in the evening of her life. She has actually been forced out of her home and it is shocking to find her in such a situation. At this juncture, we need to make sure that she is allowed to go back to her house.”
Raising suspicion over the circumstances under which the house was claimed to have been “gifted” to Indian Police Service officer Nirmal Dhoundial’s wife Preeti Dhoundial, distinguished journalist B. G. Verghese of the Centre for Policy Research said: “I had been visiting Ms. Sarkar along with my wife periodically, but never heard anything about the transaction. I came to know about it through media reports. It is important to know under what circumstances she signed the gift deed with no friends and acquaintances around.”
Rajya Sabha member Kapila Vatsyayan said: “Ms. Sarkar’s poignant situation is indicative of a deep and pervasive malaise in society that deprives senior women citizens of their right to live with dignity. It is also indicative of lack of respect and acceptance of human dignity by the very people who are the custodians of law.”
Besides friends and well-wishers of Ms. Sarkar, the statement was also endorsed by several eminent jurists, academics, journalists, activists and over a dozen national groups and institutions.