NCW seeks report on remarks against IAS officer

Durga Shakti NagpalThe National Commission for Women (NCW) has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to probe a complaint against a Samajwadi Party leader accused of making “objectionable comments” against the now suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal.

Taking cognizance of a complaint against Uttar Pradesh Agro chairman Narendra Bhatti, NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma urged Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani to probe the complaint filed by social activist Nutan Thakur.

Sharma asked the chief secretary “to present a detailed report in the matter so that further action may be taken”.

Thakur told NCW after seeing a video clip of Bhati speaking at a public function that the Samajwadi Party leader used “objectionable and derogatory” terms to describe the IAS officer.

“I am happy the NCW has taken cognizance of my complaint. I am sure the body will take serious action on the matter. It will act as a deterrent for everyone. Public figures will think twive before demeaning a woman,” she said.

Narendra Bhati, who holds minister’s rank in Uttar Pradesh and is the Lok Sabha canidate for Samajwadi Party from Noida, is attributed to be the man behind the suspension of Nagpal, who had taken on a maifa extracting sand illegally from river beds.

In the same video, Bhati brags that he got the officer suspended within 41 minutes after making a call to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

(Source: IANS)

Activist petitions rights panel against SP leader

A city-based social activist has petitioned the National Commission for Women (NCW) for action against senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Narendra Bhati for using foul language against a suspended IAS officer.

Nutan Thakur told IANS that she found Bhati’s comments against suspended Indian Administrative Officer Durga Shakti Nagpal in a videographed speech at a Greater Noida village “very improper and unbecoming of a public leader”.

“I have seen the video and the way the SP leader was swearing at the suspended woman official, I was prompted to send the complaint to the NCW,” she said.

According to the activist, the SP leader, who is also chairman of UP Agro, had commented that “is****aurat ne itni behudgi yahaan ki… dande ko chaalees minute nahi jhel paayee (this****woman who did so much absurdity here could not sustain the wrath for 40 minutes)”.

In a letter sent to NCW chairman Mamata Sharma Saturday, the activist requested her to take cognizance of the issue and initiate an inquire into the matter. “I have prayed to initiate all legal proceedings as per the inquiry report,” she said.

Nagpal, who took on the sand mining mafia in Greater Noida (Gautam Budh Nagar), was suspended July 28. The UP government has, however, cited a different reason for her suspension. It said she was suspended for ordering demolition of a wall of a religious place in Noida.

Bhati has claimed that he rang up Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at around 10:30 a.m and by 11:11 a.m., Nagpal was served the suspension order.

(Source: IANS)

Harvard to hold gender justice and criminal law conference here

Leading law makers, police officials and social activists are meeting here over the weekend in a Harvard University-organised conference to discuss effective legal, educational and social approaches to promote gender equality and curb violence against women.

The discussions are part of a two-day conference July 12-13 organised by the US varsity’s Harvard Gender Violence Project (HGVP) on ‘Gender Justice and Criminal Law Reform’.

The HGVP was established in the wake of the 2012 Delhi gang rape case and the national and international calls to action to stop violence against women.

The conference will focus on three key areas: law and law enforcement, building good practices and curricular innovation.

“The conference promises to create an opportunity to learn about and share ideas on the most promising reforms and innovations in gender justice and reform in criminal law,” a statement said.

Former attorney general Soli J. Sorabjee will deliver the keynote address Friday and National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma will deliver the keynote address Saturday.

The other speakers include members of the J.S. Verma Committee, former Himachal Pradesh chief justice Leila Seth, and former solicitor general Gopal Subramanian.

HGVP is a collaboration between the Harvard South Asia Institute, Harvard Law School, the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard and regional experts working in the area of gender violence prevention and intervention programs.

A 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi on Dec 16 last year. She died Dec 29 in a Singapore hospital.

(Source: IANS)

President appeals for awareness on women’s rights

President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday appealed for creation of adequate social awareness on women’s rights and against “barbaric” acts of violence against them.

Mukherjee said that women have played and aspire to play a pivotal role in shaping the socio-political and economic development of our country.

“Only when our ancient civilisational values of treating women with respect and dignity are formally embraced by us, can we consider ourselves a civilised society” he said while laying the foundation stone of the new building of National Commission for Women (NCW) named Nirbhyaya Bhawan.

Mukherjee stated that a greater sensitisation of society was needed to accord due respect to women.

He said that his appeal was to ensure that adequate social awareness is created on women’s rights and against the evil of barbaric acts of violence and atrocities against women and children, such as those witnessed in the recent past.

The president said the NCW has distinguished itself through its sincere initiatives for the rights, dignity and development of women in our country.

“It is therefore only appropriate that the commission, after 20 years of service dedicated to the cause of Indian women, should finally have its own permanent headquarters,” he said.

He added that once installed in its own premises, the commission would be able to create a better infrastructure for its work, augment its capacity for outreach and also significantly enhance its functional efficiencies.

The president also said the government of India is committed to equality and justice for all citizens – especially the marginalised – as envisaged in the constitution.

The new building of the NCW has been named after the Dec 16, 2012, Delhi gang-rape victim who was identified as Nirbhaya by a section of the media.

SC pulls up NCW’s apathy to Virandawan widows

The Supreme court today pulled up the National Commission for Women and its Uttar Pradesh counterpart for their apathy to the pitiable condition of Virandavan widows and asked the state government to provide adequate food and hygienic living environment for them.

 A bench of justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur directed the two commissions to file their affidavits within two weeks explaining as to what they have done or propose to do for the widows, living in “pathetic” condition in the holy city.

 The bench also directed the state government to provide medical facilities for the widows.

It directed the Vrindavan chief medical officer to ensure that a team of doctors visits the widows’ shelter at least twice a week.

 Recording the statement of state government’s counsel, the bench said a committee of State Probationary Officer and Social Welfare Officer would ensure that proper food and drinking water are supplied to the widows’ home.

 The court passed the order on pleas seeking its direction to the Centre and the state government to provide shelter and other necessary facilities to the widows in the city who have been abandoned by their family members.

 The court had earlier issued notices on the petitions highlighting the plight of widows who have been living in Vrindavan and begging at temples and then huddling together in hovels, which they call their homes.

 The court had on May 9 appointed a seven-member panel to collect data on their socio-economic conditions.

 The committee headed by chairman of Mathura District Legal Services Authority had earlier submitted its report saying the widows are “highly vulnerable” groups and are living in “pathetic” conditions.

Source: PTI

NCW says women molested in Bhatta-Parsaul, seeks CBI probe

Backing Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s claim that women were molested in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhatta-Parsaul village, the National Commission for Women (NCW) Saturday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter.

“Our team recently went to Bhatta-Parsaul village where they claimed to have seen the bones of human beings. We have prepared a preliminary report which states that the women in the village have been molested and sexually assaulted but for now we cannot say that they have been raped,” NCW chairperson Yasmin Abrar told reporters here.

The women rights body would be submitting their report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she added.

“We need CBI enquiry into the matter and we do not believe the forensic investigation done by the government in Agra,” Abrar said.

An 11-member team comprising retired judges, lawyers, social activists, civil society members and some NCW members would be visiting the village in a couple of days. The village in Greater Noida, near the Indian capital, has become the epicentre of the movement against land acquisition for an expressway project.

Rahul Gandhi had staged a daylong sit-in to back the farmers’ demand for higher compensation after a clash had seen four people, including two policemen, being killed.

Gandhi had also met Manmohan Singh with a delegation of farmers from Bhatta-Parsaul and handed over pictures of ashes with bones, injured people and ransacked houses. He had quoted villagers speaking of ‘mass murders, repression and rapes’ by the police in the village.

Bill against honour killing likely in monsoon session: Girija Vyas

The bill against honour killing is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of parliament in July, outgoing chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) Girija Vyas said Wednesday.

‘I believe the bill will be introduced in the monsoon session. With the GoM (group of ministers) approving it, there is no hitch now,’ Vyas told here.

The bill, titled ‘Prevention of crimes in the name of honour and tradition’, proposes severe punishment at par with murder, to members of ‘khap’ (caste) panchayats, which order or provoke honour killings – murder of men and women by their own kin for either marrying within a ‘gotra’ (social grouping) or outside a caste.

The bill also proposes changes in the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act and Special Marriages Act to initiate penal action against ‘khap’ panchayat members.

The GoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, included Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

‘It will be a big deterrent to the heinous crimes committed by one’s own family and community members in the name of ‘izzat’ (pride) of the family and clan,’ Vyas said.

Asked about reservations expressed by some parliament members and Congress leaders about the action against ‘khaps’, Vyas said: ‘I believe the GoM deliberated on all sides of the issue. The main issue was the security and freedom of women and men to decide on their marriages.’

‘Violence and brutality are no way to safeguard the prestige and pride of any caste or clan,’ she added.

Nearly 1,000 cases of honour killings occur each year, according to NGOs and social activists. Though most incidents take place in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, there have been incidents in other states as well, including Delhi.

In a landmark judgment, a district court in Karnal had sentenced five people to death in March 2010 for killing a couple – Babli and Manoj – in Karora village in Kaithal district in Haryana in 2007.

However, the Punjab and Haryana high court last month commuted the death sentence to 20 years of jail.

Vyas told  that the NCW had been conducting social awareness programmes against honour killing along with pressing for a new bill.

‘It should be a two-step strategy. Through the new bill, we want to deter the ‘khaps’ and family members from killing couples. Through awareness programmes, we want to convince the community leaders that murder is no way to protect their pride and tradition,’ she said.

Vyas, who is also a Lok Sabha member, demits the post of NCW chairperson Friday after completing two terms in office – totalling a tenure of six years.