Women's Organisations Demand NCW Chief's Resignation Over Manipur Incident
Multiple women's organisations have written to Rekha Sharma, chairperson of, National Commission for Women (NCW), expressing their shock over the latter's actions (or lack thereof) in cases of violence against women in Manipur. They have further demanded Sharma's resignation, holding her responsible for the shameful situation surrounding the NCW in the context of Manipur violence.
The letter comes after it was revealed that NCW did not respond to complaints from Manipur calling for immediate action in a case where three women were publicly stripped and raped by a mob. The complaint was made to NCW on June 12, 2023. The complainants wrote several times to NCW and received no response.
The incident in question happened on May 4; however, state authorities took action against perpetrators only after a video of the incident went viral on social media on July 19. It took the state and Central governments 78 days to address the issue.
"It is disturbing that no action was taken, except for the filing of a mere zero FIR in the incident that had happened on May 4, right after the ethnic violence began on May 3, 2023. This made the police apathy with the victims and collusion with the perpetrators of the crime abundantly clear," the letter notes.
Responding to the accusations that her office failed to respond to complaints about the May 4 incident, Sharma denied having received any complaints about this specific incident. She added that she reached out to Manipur authorities thrice over other incidents of violence against women, but no response was received from them.
The NCW took suo motu cognisance of the incident after the viral video.
However, in their letter, the women's organisations have directly called out Sharma for NCW betraying its mandate and deliberately trying to cover up the incident.
"At the very least, this is evidence of gross negligence on the part of a respected public institution like NCW, which has the obligatory duty of protecting women in the country and upholding their rights irrespective of class, caste, religion, language, or ethnic origin."
Furthermore, the letter reminded Sharma of her duties and the objectives of NCW, a body with a history of "proactive interventions in the myriad issues concerning women." The letter highlights that the institution has degenerated into partisanship with the ruling dispensation under Sharma's leadership.
"Your claims of having communicated to the officials in Manipur are too little too late. Never have we seen the institution so shamefully undermining its own mandate. We feel the NCW - in deliberately ignoring and suppressing this atrocious attack upon two tribal women - has misused its office, besmirched its own position, and betrayed the trust the women's movement in the country had reposed upon it."
The signatories to the letter include the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), All India Coordination of POW PMS IJM, All India Mahila Sanskritik Sanghathan (AIMSS) and All India Agragami Mahila Samita (AIAMS).
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