Sheelus are getting ready to fight for their rights
Today I shared dais with the chairperson of the National Commission for Women Girija Vyas. Her words are still echoing, “Come and sit in the NCW office for a day. You won’t be able to take your evening meal. Women with both hands chopped, bodies badly burnt or bruised come to office every day seeking justice.”
The subject of the seminar was the legal rights for women, organized by a Delhi based NGO Bharat Sewa Sansthan. If Vyas could be believed UPA government has initiated as many as 32 news laws/amendments in the existing ones to protect women and rehabilitate them too.
Really? So many laws! I wonder why crime against women is on the rise? What is their efficacy? Have these laws actually helped in protecting women’s dignity or in rehabilitating them? People in the Hindi heartland still take pride in child marriages, domestic violence is on the rise while dowry remains a status symbol.
If we have stringent laws, shouldn’t a rapist shudder from the very thought of raping a girl! And that reminded me of 17-year-old girl Sheelu in Banda, raped, tortured by BSP MLA, jailed on a fabricated charge of theft.
Media and subsequent public support helped in her release, people, especially political parties came in droves – they brought with them sympathy as well as money bags.
Fine – the rapist went to the jail — today he is in hospital supposedly sick. What next? Usually the rape victim and their families avoid public glare but here we have a young girl who has literally thrown her case in the public/legal domain demanding justice. Question still remains, ‘ Will she get, when will she get.’
Media is back home, the political parties have other Sheelus to console or fight for—she is left alone – battered and bruised — with no legal support system, while the MLA and his goons are out – threatening her, her family and the entire village.
Moreover who is bothered about her rehabilitation? The government? When we talk about gender budgeting, the funds should be spent on providing legal aid and rehabilitation to battered women instead of spending it on civic infrastructure.
Practically speaking — few women actually enjoy or benefit from the legal rights they have been empowered with. Even if they knew the rights, they lack the support system – first the legal system to provide them succor, the social system to provide them the strength.
Thus we need more Sheelus – not the victim, but the fighter. Gone are the days of Sati and Savitri— Sheelus are ready to fight for their right.