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June 2, 2016

Crimes against women is a social problem: Dr Sashi Panja

Crimes against women is a social problem: Dr Sashi Panja

West Bengal Minister for Women and Child Development Dr Sashi Panja said that crimes against women is a social problem and convictions for such crimes is higher in Bengal than in the past.

“Crimes against women — molestation, eveteasing and rape — are not political crimes. They are a part of a larger problem in our society…how we view women and the role they play. This is a social problem and isn’t unique to Bengal. It is unfortunate that the Opposition has linked it to the political system in place. Conviction rates for such crimes in the state is actually higher now than it was in the past,” she said. “But more importantly, we are focusing on schemes that will empower and protect vulnerable young women — which can be the only long-term solution,” Dr  Panja added.

In particular, Kanyashree Prakalpa incentivises the education of girls belonging to economically backward families up to the age of 18. “Here, while education is incentivised for a longer period of time, marriage is discouraged until at least the age of 18. This not only helps the girls to deal with myriad health issues like early pregnancy, child mortality and malnutrition, but also creates a framework to protect them,” Dr Panja said. She added: “On the one hand, in case a child marriage takes place, the scheme’s cash benefits no longer become applicable to the concerned family; at the same time, this prevents cases of trafficking where a poor family gets its daughter married to the man, who is also her trafficker.”

On attacks and torture on women, Dr Panja took a strong stand. “This is not the kind of behaviour that the party endorses. In many of these criminal cases, the guilty have been brought to justice. But this is not the same thing as saying that there isn’t a problem. However, to drag the party in and make it seem like this is Trinamool’s stand on the matter is unfortunate.”