On Friday (May 7), the National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma informed that several women in West Bengal have been facing rape threats and are wanting their daughters to abandon the State. The revelation comes days after an NCW team reached West Bengal to take cognisance of the Trinamool Congress-sponsored violence in the State.
As per reports, Rekha Sharma said that the rape threats to women and their willingness to leave the State altogether came at the backdrop of the police inaction and their failure in ensuring the protection of women. In a statement, she added that the women are fearful of a possible backlash if they file a complaint with the police.
While speaking about the matter, NCW said, “The team received information about many stranded victims, who left their homes because of violence, are currently forced to stay in a shelter home. The team was informed by the victims that they were physically assaulted and their homes were vandalised and set ablaze by TMC goons.”
NCW complaints about rape threats to women and police inaction
It further added, “The complainants told the team that they have been receiving rape and threat calls every day. The women also said that they are not being provided with any protection by the police or state authorities. The women said that they have left the elderly in their homes and are worried about their safety.” Moreover, the shelter homes, where people were forced to take refuge, had no medical facilities, clean drinking water, or healthy food.
“There is no effective rehabilitation scheme for women in distress and women are unaware of the welfare schemes launched for them by the central government. There is a need for conducting awareness programmes about schemes of central government at the district level,” NCW noted. It had also met West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and sought detailed information of the registered FIRs from police officials and the district magistrates. NCW has also asked the cops to appear before them and submit their reports.
NCW demands police reforms, the inclusion of more women officers in services
The National Commission for Women pointed out that the police and the State authorities must be held accountable. It emphasised the need to increase women police officers, sensitisation, and training the police personnel. NCW stated that the State government officials prevented it from meeting the victims of violence, citing movement restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mamata govt denies extension of stay to NCW chief
On Thursday (May 6), National Commission for Women chief Rekha Sharma announced that she had been refused a one-day extension of her West Bengal visit, which sought to help women affected by the post-election violence in the state. The official reason for this refusal was the recently introduced partial lockdown measures in the state.
The NCW chief had been on an official visit to Kolkata since May 5 in order to hear the grievances of women going through post-election violence. In order to better access the situation, the NCW chief had extended her visit for another day, however, this extension was quickly refused by the West Bengal TMC government.
“Yesterday I extended my visit to Kolkata for a day but State Gov. didn’t want me to, so they sent this message to me as if I was here for a pleasure trip,” wrote Rekha Sharma. “In this 2 days trip met many women, saw so much pain in their eyes, and recorded horrible stories,” the NCW chief added, giving a plausible explanation as to why she would extend her official visit.