WOMEN GATHER IN LARGE NUMBERS FOR THE FIRST NATIONAL MAHILA PANCHAYATby Editorial Desk June 16 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 22 secs
Hundreds of women gathered to hold the first National Mahila Panchayat in solidarity with the struggling Wrestlers in Delhi on the 14th June 2023, reports The Daily Eye #Newsdesk
Among the demands that emerged from the Panchayat the most important were: immediate arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the resignation of the Sports Minister for his abject failure to take action in these cases of sexual harassment and the prosecution of police officials under 166A IPC who failed to register FIRs and comply with the provisions of POCSO, PoSH and IPC.
A Supreme Court monitored probe into these cases of struggling wrestlers given the widespread reporting of intimidation of survivors, witnesses and their families and action in all other cases of sports women who have been struggling for justice against sexual harassment at the workplace, including against former Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh against whom a sexual harassment case has been pending since 2017, were also demanded. The new President of the Wrestler’s Foundation of India should be a Woman, as promised earlier by the Home Minister was also listed.
The Mahila Panchayat also strongly condemned the Sports Ministry and its officials for criminal failure to implement the PoSH Act in more than half of the sports federations in the country, the cabinet of ministers including the Minister of Women & Child Development, who have stood as mute witnesses in the face of grave criminal violations.
the deafening silence of the statutory bodies meant for protection of women, children and human rights - the National Commission for Women, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and National Human Rights Commission.
Attended by many women sports persons and activists from Haryana including Sakshi Malik’s mother, Sudhesh Malik, women’s rights activists from Rajasthan and Delhi, the gathering was marked by passionate speeches about the struggles of the wrestlers in their fight for justice, vibrant affirmations of solidarity and togetherness in this uphill battle. The gathering also saw the participation of prominent women intellectuals and activists such as Zoya Hasan, Uma Chakravarti, Mridula Mukherjee, Syeda Hameed, Rajni Palriwal, Nandita Narain, Beena Pallical, Abhirami Jyothee, Anjali Bharadwaj, TK Rajlakshmi, Pamela Phillipose, Purwa Bhardwaj, Poonam Muttreja, Neeraj Mallik, Swati Joshi, Bhasha Singh, Nivedita Menon and Arfa Khanam, among others.
The Mahila Panchayat ended with a joint call for a national protest on 16th June if the government fails to fulfil its promises to the struggling wrestlers!
Mahila Panchayat was organized by: All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), All India Mahila Sanksritik Sanghathan (AIMSS), Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), Centre for Struggling Women (CSW), Indian Christian Women's Movement (ICWM) Delhi, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Saheli and YWCA of India.