Lok Sabha

August 7, 2014

Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks on the atrocities on women | Transcript

Thank you Chairman Sir. As I stand in this citadel of democracy and justice today, I make an appeal to the collective consciousness of our nation to respect womanhood. Women when they are in utero – stop feticide. Women who are less than one year of age – stop infanticide, women when they are in their youth – prevent maternal mortality, prevent rape on them, prevent domestic violence on them, prevent harassment, sexual harassment on them in their workplaces, harassment on them on the road, harassment everywhere. I appeal to the collective consciousness of this nation also Sir, to respect women at every aspect of their lives. Had Agatha Christie been around she would have written a book ‘Mystery of the missing girls’.

It is really shocking sometimes – in dismay and disbelieve I pinch myself – do I breath the same air as men do, and do I tread the glades as men do in this country because I am still alive. Women are not allowed to be born in this country. The United Nations have sounded an alarm, they have declared emergency on India. The Assistant Secretary General of United Nations has said that “the sharply declining the child sex ratio in India has reached an emergency proportion and urgent action has to be taken”. The deteriorating ratio of 977 girls to 1000 boys in 1961 stands today at 918 only in the country and Delhi is no better; it is only in the 800s. In Punjab today it is 846 per 1000 men, and also 834 in Haryana. It is really shocking that a little child, a little girl sleeping peacefully in her mother’s womb, is murdered by doctors. These erring doctors should be sent to the jail and if found to be guilty they should really be hanged, I agree completely with my sister here who was speaking about it.

The sex ratio and the gender-biased sex selection has really reached such an extent, the falling numbers can be attributed to many reasons which include dowry as already discussed and it is tragically ironic that the one who creates life – that is the mother – is not allowed to be born, or not allowed to live, because even after being born, out of the 12 million girl children born every year in the country, one million don’t reach their first birthday. They are killed even before they reach one year of their age.

Our State Government has taken positive steps towards this. Our hon. Chief Minister Smt Mamata Banerjee has respected the reservation for women in the highest body of Lok Sabha by fielding nearly 30% candidates and here we are nearly 32% of our elected Lok Sabha Members are women. I am proud of her, I am proud of my party. She has also started the Kanyashree scheme; she is helping the girl children to study. The Kanyashree II scheme says at the age of 18 if she remains unmarried and studying she is getting Rs 25000. It not only addresses the issue of education, it not only addresses the issue of empowerment because at the age of 18, if she is unmarried, that clause, she remains to become a healthy mother and a healthy child is born and that addresses the issue of millennium development goal fine, where she is not killed during child birth.

The hon. Chief Minister started girls’ hostel in the state, she has recruited women police, and she started courts to treat women’s issues. So I would again request that we have enough laws, today’s motion was the need to have stringent legislation to check increasing atrocities against women and children in the country. But we have laws, we have laws against domestic violence, we have laws against sexual harassment; we have the Vishakha judgment and guidelines. It is not stopping the happenings that are taking place here. I would like to request this august House that we have to sensitize our citizens, men and women equally. Women are equally to blame; they should have enough courage to stand on their feet and fight the world and then live and let live. Though there are stringent laws, implementation has to be stricter, vigilance has to be kept, rape rehabilitation has to be given a very strict thought and the awareness created. I am sorry to say this Government has only Rs 100 crore in the budget for awareness, it is not enough. The citizens have to be made aware, that women should be respected. They are half our total population. Though they are doing 85% of the work in the country, they hold only 15% of the assets in the country.

We are three sisters, Mr Chairman Sir. When someone would ask my father aren’t you sad you have only three daughters, he would say, they are my sun, they are my moon, they are my words, they are my tune, they are my future, they are my assets. I know of another lady member of the house who is a single child whose father feels the same way. We need more fathers this way. Fathers who will be proud of their girl child, bring them up properly, give them education so that they are empowered.

Our scriptures do not have contradictory vision otherwise we would not have seen Draupadi in such an empowered position. Our country has had many women who have led the nation to war. This is the best of time because we have the legislation and this is also the worst of times because we have the Nirbhaya cases. It is also an era of regression because we have the khap panchayats, because we have honour killings; a girl cannot love on her own and she is killed because of the decision taken by elders. This has to be done away with. Hon. Minister is here, I would request the honour killings must stop. This is an age of resilience because we have women here who are speaking against this social evil.

I would request an awareness be created in the homes because we know more than 97% of the cases are inside the house; it is either the father, very sadly, it is the uncle, it is the cousin, it is the brother, it is somebody in the house who is raping the girl and when the girl is really ashamed to talk about it in the public this gentleman gets so much of encouragement that he goes out and does it to other people. So the domestic violence and what is happening inside the house should be looked at. It is not possible to have surveillance cameras inside the homes; we need a change of mindset.

I would request that proper implementation of the legislation be done and also everywhere advertisement should be put; Doordarshan reaches far and wide, the radio reaches far and wide, talks should be given on this issue so that people can hear and start respecting women as they should be.

Thank you.