Sunday, November 21, 2010

State to rehabilitate abused naxal women

Ashish Tripathi, TNN, Nov 21, 2010, 06.01am IST

LUCKNOW: The state government has decided to rehabilitate the tribal women who joined naxal movement a few years back but were later abandoned, after exploitation by the leaders of the Ultra groups. Such women will be trained under various welfare schemes and given jobs for self-sustenance. The decision comes after victims sought relief from the chief minister and TOI highlighted their plight. Social activists have welcomed the state government initiative but said that the move will succeed only when the district level officers are sensitive about the cause and there is a regular review by top officials.

Hailing from the naxal-affected Kaimur range of east UP, which includes Robertsganj, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and Chandauli, many young women had joined the banned outfits between 2000-2005. Most of them were driven by abject poverty and some out of anger against exploitation and oppression by dominant Yadav community in the area, police and forest officials. But naxals were no better. They exploited women members and abandoned them when they became pregnant. Some of the women surrendered before the police and few were arrested. All these women are now living in a pathetic condition. Their families have refused to take them back. Government agencies are of no help. Social organisations are not helping because of the fear of being caught in police-naxal crossfire.

Last month, these women petitioned to chief minister Mayawati seeking her intervention for their rehabilitation. On their behalf, Shanta Bhattacharya, a social activists associated with Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, wrote to the chief minister and the National Commission for Women. The TOI also highlighted their cause in the news report `Abused Naxal women approach CM for help' published on October 13. Reacting to it, the state government issued directions to the administrations of the naxal affected districts to identify such women, train them under various welfare schemes and provide jobs. "We have asked district magistrates to take up the matter on priority basis," Prem Narain, social welfare commissioner, told TOI.

The district magistrate and senior superintendent of police of Sonbhadra district have contacted Vijay Vinit, a social activist, who, along with Shanta, has been working for the cause of `abused abandoned women' for help to trace victims. "These women can be trained and given jobs as mid-day meals cooks in primary schools, shikshak mitras, anganwadi workers, among other things," Vinit told TOI on phone. "There are scores of such victim women in naxal-affected areas. Most joined naxals for the sake of sustenance. The naxal leaders abandoned them after exploitation because a `pregnant women' is a liability. The government effort will succeed only when district level officers take up the cause as seriously as senior officials in Lucknow have taken it," said Shanta.

"The decision has come as a ray of hope for victims who can now look forward to a decent life," said Arti, a resident of Chicileek, Sonbhadra, who had joined naxals in 2002. She worked with the guerrilla team and was used for carrying goods and cooking. She fell in love with one of the team members but, was abandoned by the party when the commander came to know about her pregnancy. Her parents refused to take her back and she was forced to leave the village. She is living an oblivious life with her child, working in a stone-crusher plant. "It would end the miseries of my parents who are suffering because of me," said Sarita Chero, who married a fellow naxal but was caught in 2006. After getting bail from the court she went to live with her parents but, the entire village decided to boycott the family.

Read more: State to rehabilitate abused naxal women - The Times of India

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