New Delhi: Highlighting growing caste, communal and gender violence during five years of the Narendra Modi government, as well as attacks on rights such as for food, education, health, employment, wages and reservation of seats in Parliament, several women’s organisations on Thursday presented an 11-point charter of demands for political parties.
Seeking inclusion of these demands in election manifestos, Mariam Dhawale, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said at a press conference here that the increasing violence against women and the Government’s inaction towards it was very worrisome.
She further said that the Nirbhaya fund was not being used for the purpose it was formed for and instead was being diverted towards other things. She also pointed out the dipping sex ratio.
The organisations that drafted the joint charter of demands include
All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), All India Mahila Sanskritik Sanghathan (AIMSS), All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) Guild of Service, Muslim Women’s Forum (MWF), National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) and Purogami Mahila Sanghathan (PMS).
Describing the 2019 elections as one of the most “difficult challenges in front of all secular democratic forces in the country and an opportunity at the same time to dislodge the nightmarish regime of violence, fear, hunger and unemployment unleashed by the RSS-BJP dominated Modi government in the last five years, Dhawale said issues like political reservation, food security and price rise, among other were crucial.
The joint charter has also demanded universalisation of the public distribution system to exclude only taxpayers and to ensure a minimum entitlement of 35kg of foodgrains per household and ration cards to all, especially single women, unorganised sector workers, disabled, migrants and street dwellers.
Rushta, representing NFIW, dubbed the biometric system and the Ujjwala Scheme brought in by the government as it’s “biggest failure”. “Forcibly linking Aadhaar with bank accounts will not solve our issues and neither will jumlas like Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao. We will fight to bring our issues to foreground,” she said.
Taking a dig at BJP’s ‘hypernationalist’ campaign after the Pulwama attack, Chaya of PMS said, “the government today portrays that Pakistan is our biggest enemy, but the deplorable condition of our women under this regime is not Pakistan’s fault! Who is accountable for such heinous crimes against women and why do such perpetrators roam freely? It is because our government has failed to ensure our safety and is instead busy on divide people on caste, class, community etc.”
The charter points out that the horrors of rising communal and caste fundamentalism within Hindu society are revealed in growing incidents of honour crimes in Modi’s four years (79% rise just in one year, 2014-2015). “If Modi is a champion of women’s causes, how is it that he has not moved a finger to bring in stringent legal measures against such crimes? …This unconcern for oppressive customs which victimise Hindu women lays bare the hypocrisy of shedding crocodile tears for divorced Muslim women by criminalising triple talaq after it has already been made illegal by a Supreme Court Order. This ethics of divisiveness and hatred is strengthened by the official and unofficial leanings of the party in power”, the charter adds.