Women Activists Protesting Against Madhya Pradesh Govt Detained in Delhi

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Women organisations denounce Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for proposing surveillance on working women

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI—The Delhi Police on Friday detained a group of women who had gathered before the Madhya Pradesh Bhavan in New Delhi to register their protest against the MP government’s proposal of surveillance on working women. The protest was organised by a number of women organisations.
Dozens of women including prominent figures like Maimoona Mollah, Shabnam Hashmi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Poonam Kaushik, Deepti Bharti, Ritu Kaushik and Madhuri Varshney were detained at Mandir Marg police station. They were set free after several hours.

A recent statement of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has upset the women. Flagging off a programme on January 11 to raise awareness on crimes against women, Chouhan suggested that the age of marriage for women be increased and women living outside their parental homes for work register themselves with the police so that they can be tracked for their own safety.

The Indian Express reported Chouhan as having said that he was also in favour of putting a system in place under which women who live outside their houses for work can register themselves at a local police station “and she will be tracked for her safety.” The women will also be provided with helpline numbers to call in case of distress.

“We reject any such proposal and the thinking behind such draconian and paternalistic initiatives. Surveillance and tracking in the guise of ensuring safety will adversely impact women’s autonomy and freedoms,” said the protestors while being detained.

They said Madhya Pradesh has witnessed horrific crimes against women in the recent past. The chief minister should focus on improving law and order, making local infrastructure and public spaces safe for women and ensuring effective investigation and prosecution in cases of crimes against women.

This surveillance proposal is meant to divert attention from the failures of the government. “We condemn this proposal to exercise control over women in the guise of their safety and call upon the CM to publicly rescind his comments,” they declared.

The organisations which joined the protest were: Abhyudaya, AIDMAM, AIDWA , AIMSS, AIPWA, Akhil Bhartiya Dalit Lekhika Manch, Anhad, ICWM Delhi, Mother Teresa Foundation, Muslim Women Forum , NFIW, Pehchan , PMS, Saheli and SNS.

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