AIDWA Demands Union Minister’s Ouster
THE All India democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has demanded immediate intervention by the Modi government in the case of a gang rape survivor from Rajasthan. The victim is facing intimidation and threats because her determined struggle for justice has led to legal summons being issued to Nihalchand Meghwal, a minister in the union government. In a statement issued on June 19, the AIDWA pointed out that the gang rape victim had filed an FIR in 2011 against 17 offenders; the AIDWA had intervened on her behalf even at that time. The relentless struggle for over three years has finally resulted in some action. The additional district judge of Vaishali, Jaipur has issued notices to the accused to appear in court and face the charges made by the complainant. In this context, when such a serious accusation has been made and legal proceedings are underway, it is imperative that the central minister must step down, pending the investigation. This alone can facilitate a free and fair enquiry into the matter. The complainant and her family members must be provided full security; and all support required to fight the case must be extended to her. The AIDWA unit in Ganganagar district and other concerned organisations also organised a protest demonstration on June 20, demanding security for the survivor, and effective and time bound action in the case. The AIDWA has asked for appointment the prime minister, along with the survivor, on an urgent basis. It has also decided tp move other institutions like the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, etc, in this regard. UNDEMOCRATIC MOVE ON NCW THROUGH yet another statement issued from June 20, the AIDWA condemned the move by the Modi government to dismiss the heads and members of certain autonomous institutions According to reports that have appeared in the media, the Modi government is taking measures to ease out the heads of various institutions, including the chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW). This, the AIDWA said, is an undemocratic act which thoroughly exposes the intention of the BJP to bring all structures within its political control. Similar measures were adopted by the Congress government also when in power. The AIDWA condemned this approach which undermines the autonomous character of many important institutions and seeks to subjugate them to the interests of the ruling government. The statement signed by AIDWA president Malini Bhattacharya, vice president Sudha Sundararaman and general secretary Jagmati Sangwan also pointed out that such a step also violates the spirit of the prime minister Modi’s frequently raised slogan of “minimum government and maximum governance.” In actual fact we find that from the day the new prime minister took over, he has been engaged in centralising the powers of the prime minister’s office (PMO) by bringing around him in important posts only those people who are likely to carry out his commands unquestioningly. This was evident in the manner in which the principal cabinet secretary was appointed. A few days back, the Modi government started making precipitous efforts to remove the governors appointed by the UPA government in various states. Now we hear that the untimely overhauling of the National Commission for Women is also being contemplated. The AIDWA, which has always been vocal against undemocratic moves, had earlier opposed the sub-clause unfairly added during the UPA-1 regime to the National Commission for Women Act whereby the chairperson and the members were mandated to serve for a term of three years or until the government wished otherwise. This amendment gave the government arbitrary power over the NCW and often prevented the latter from acting independently. Now it would seem that the BJP government, impatient to have its own people everywhere, is bent on using the same arbitrary power against the NCW. The AIDWA strongly reiterated its demand to the Modi government that any statutory commission should be allowed to be in office for its full term. It also urged that the offending sub-clause in the NCW Act should be removed forthwith.