They raise questions about weak response of the police
Several eyes turned moist when women victims of torture, violence and cruelty narrated their stories of pain and anguish at a “Jan Samvaad” (public hearing) on violence against women at Jawahar Kala Kendra here on Wednesday. Civil society group Action Aid had invited the women who refused to surrender before cruelty and launched a fight to get their rightful place.
The message was evident at the gathering of women from all over Rajasthan. Women should not treat themselves weak or subjugated, but empower themselves to fight for their own rights and take up cudgels on behalf of others. Women resolved to become the voice of the voiceless and struggle for justice.
The event was organised as part of an ongoing campaign, “Beti Zindabad” (Long Live Daughter), aimed at generating awareness of the declining child sex ratio and violence against girls and women, and creating an atmosphere to challenge such violence. A large number of women recounted the incidents of violence perpetrated in different forms against them. The participants raised questions about weak response of the police and other State institutions in the presence of State Women’s Commission Chairperson Laad Kumari Jain and affirmed that “very little help” comes from police officers in the instances of crimes against women.
The issues of shoddy investigation and delay in payment of compensation to victims in the rape cases were also raised on the occasion.
The participants were shocked when a Dalit girl from Udaipur district narrated the brutality committed against her. A contractor and his accomplices dragged the 19-year-old girl inside a van when she left the daily wage work on being harassed in September this year.
She was allegedly gang-raped and thrown on the railway track, where both her legs were crushed under a running train. The girl has been rendered disabled for her life. Her family is being threatened by influential criminals, while the police have still not filed charge sheet against the accused, who were arrested after much pressure. The girl said she had not received any assistance from the State government.
Geeta from Abu Road has also been demanding justice for several months. Her husband was beaten to death, but the police are not paying attention to the crime. Kishan Lal from Jodhpur said some powerful people sexually assaulted his two daughters and a child was born to one of them in the July this year.
Questions were raised about the role of the police and protest was registered over the State government’s failure to pay compensation to the victims.
‘Don’t tolerate injustice’
Jahan Ara from Bulandi gave inspiration to women by affirming that they should not tolerate injustice. She said her husband used to punish her for no fault in the 14 years of her married life, but now she has turned the tables and punished her husband for his cruel behaviour.
A middle-aged woman from Mulla Talai in Udaipur narrated her case of domestic violence and said a “Gulabi Gang” comprising over a dozen women was engaged in getting justice for victims of violence, but the police had not rendered any help.
Action Aid Regional Manager for Gujarat and Rajasthan Shabnam Aziz threw light on the “Beti Zindabad” campaign and said all the cases that had come up in public hearing would be documented and efforts would be made to get legal relief and move the government.
Ms. Aziz said women were often reluctant to come forward for fighting for their rights and getting justice. This has led to a situation when only one out of ten cases of crimes against women is reported.
PUCL general secretary Kavita Srivastava, women activists Nisha Siddhu and Renuka Pamecha, human rights activists Tulsidas Raj, Gopal Verma, Shiv Nayal and Vijay Goyal and members of “Niswaan” group of Gujarat were present.