(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 21, 2012
The following is the text of the memorandum
ON behalf of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), a leading women’s organisation of the country, we have come here to express our anguish and anger at the spate of horrific incidents of violence against women and young girls that have occurred in your State. Many of the victims are Dalits and all of them belong to the poorest and weakest sections. We are also here to express our severe condemnation of the way in which certain organisations have been running so-called Protection Homes as places of intimidation and sexual exploitation of their inmates.
We would like to place the following demands before you:
1. All complaints of rape and sexual harassment must be treated with the utmost seriousness and investigated without any delay. Any police or other officials who do not do this and those who actually obstruct the delivery of justice must be given stringent punishment.
2. The victims must be rehabilitated in every way possible. Compensation should also be made available to them and, wherever feasible the victims should be given government jobs.
3. Fast track courts must be instituted to try the cases so that justice is not delayed and the victims, their families and witnesses do not face harassment and suffer further trauma.
4. Self-styled bodies with no constitutional sanction whatsoever like khap panchayats must not be given any kind of governmental sanction or recognition. We are shocked to hear that the department of women’s welfare is trying to organise a campaign against sex-selective abortions with the help of khap panchayats. On the one hand, the state government is not doing what it should to implement the PCPNDT Act and, on the other, it is giving legitimacy to socially regressive organisations like khap panchayats. We demand that the law be implemented with all seriousness, that monitoring committees at all levels be formed and their regular and effective functioning ensured and that stringent punishment be meted out to all those violating the Act.
5. Recently, a khap mahapanchayat leader has demanded that the age of consent for marriage be reduced to 16 years, ostensibly to prevent the atrocities being committed against minor girls. It is very shocking that no member of your government has condemned this demand and made your government’s stand clear.
We demand that the Haryana government should take urgent note of the alarming situation, and take steps to arrest this trend.