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Women’s groups condemn the attack on a woman activist in Orissa

December 15, 2009

Press Release – Women’s groups condemn the attack on a woman activist in Orissa

Women’s organisations from across the country have strongly condemned the attack on a woman activist, who was stripped and beaten for spearheading an anti –liquor movement in Balasore district in Orissa. Jayanti Padhi, the victim has also accused police of inaction and says that the police has been shielding the culprits, as the crime took place in front of a police officer.

“It is not only shocking but also shameful to see that such incidents are still taking place in our country. Women who show the courage and stand up to oppose the wrongs are often stripped and assaulted in public. The state authorities are being unscrupulous by not reacting to this incident that requires immediate attention,” says Dr Ranjana Kumari, President, WomenPowerConnect & Director, Centre for Social Research.

Reacting to this incident, WomenPowerConnect (WPC) a conglomerate of over 700 women’s groups and organisations is writing a letter to Mr. Naveen Patnaik, Orissa’s Chief Minister, to set up an enquiry committee for probing into the issue. Meanwhile, hundreds of women and members of several self – help groups also blocked a road and gheraoed the police station demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.

This unfortunate incident isn’t the only one that has tarnished India’s image as a safe destination for women. Jaipur,the capital of Rajasthan also witnessed a similar incident. Dr Mitu Khurana, 32, indicted her in-laws, her husband and the hospital concerned, under the Preconception and Pre Natal Diagnostic and Testing (PC&PNDT) Act, 1994. Dr.Mitu who got married in 2004 was forced to undergo banned ultrasound tests and was forcibly fed forbidden food.Her repeated complaints to the District and State Appropriate Authority (a body where complaints in violation to the PC&PNDT Act can be filed) continue to remain unheeded. And now that she has not received a reply to her complaint from the State Appropriate Authority, she has approached the Central Appropriate Authority.

Similarly, in the year 2007, the city of Rajkot witnessed a ghastly scene of a half naked woman roaming its streets. Pooja Chauhan married four years ago was allegedly harassed by her in-laws for dowry, which worsened ever since she gave birth to a girl. She had separated from her husband five months ago, and was living with her daughter which still did not stop the harassment.Pooja had asked the police to intervene on several occasions before, but to no avail. Recently, she tried to set herself on fire in front of the police station in a desperate attempt to get them to take action. This too failed. When her pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears, and no help from any quarter coming her way, she did the unthinkable. She stripped, in the hope that at least this will shame the police into action.

For more information, please contact:
Doel Rout, Shreshtha Kumar Communicators India M: 9990712880, 9873077438

New Delhi, January 05, 2009

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