NCW has failed to perform its functions: Aruna Roy
NFIW announced three new campaigns on violence against women, the issue of food security bill and increasing communalism in the country
Sumati Panikkar Delhi
The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), an all India women’s organization, held a press conference here in Delhi’s Indian Women’s Press Corps, to discuss their forthcoming campaigns. The campaigns were strategised and adopted at the organization’s recently concluded 19th Congress held in Chennai on August 8-11, 2012.
Addressing the press were the re-elected president Aruna Roy, General Secretary Annie Raja, Working President Gargi Chakravarty, and Vice President Primla Loomba. It was announced that the NFIW has decided to launch 3 campaigns in the coming months on the issues of food security, violence against women in its various forms, and communalism. “We demand that the government recognize right to food as a fundamental right. To this end, we plan to organize dharnas in front of government offices, from the village level to the national capital, on September 18 which is World Food Day. This is in the context of the Food Security Bill that is currently being considered in the Parliament. The government lacks the political will to bring a strong bill. We demand the universalization of PDS, that should include all essentials include sources of protein such as pulses, for the common masses,” informed Annie Raja.
Secondly, it was recognized that there is an increasing violence against women in the form of acid attacks, moral policing, ‘witch-hunting’, ‘honour killings’ and so on. “The combination of patriarchy and neo-liberal economic policies has intensified the attacks on women. On October 2, we will protest this in the form of human chains in front of state and government offices everywhere”, the speakers announced. Finally, a nationwide campaign would be carried out “against the increasing communalism, in order to strengthen secularism and communal harmony”.
Responding to questions Aruna Roy accepted that the various women’s commissions were being ineffective in their role in ensuring dignity for women. “The National Commission for Women was formed as a result of strong demands from the women’s movement for such a body. However, it has largely failed to perform its functions as it is getting limited by political and other affiliations. It should instead work from the perspective of women. Thus, the body needs to do serious introspection”, she said.
On being asked if the NFIW had any concrete campaign planned for women political prisoners facing violence from state such as Soni Sori, Raja informed that they are in solidarity with other organizations who have taken up campaigns on this. “In fact, six of our members from central India were also recently put in jail by the police, abetted by the BJP, on false allegations of being Maoists”, she added.
NFIW has units in 26 states, with a membership of nearly 17 lakh women. The recent congress was attended by over 700 delegates. The organization appealed to all women to join its efforts.