Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Single women march for justice in India

To impress upon the government and policy makers the urgent need to address their issues, about 5,000 single women from Himachal Pradesh, will undertake a three-day Pad Yatra (march) from Arki to Shimla, starting April 1.

This march is being undertaken to draw the government''s attention to the demands of the Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan (ENSS) and to sensitise the government to evolve a rights-based policy for single women. Rather than patronage, ENSS demands a state policy framed on principles of inclusion for single women across the state of Himachal Pradesh.

According to Subhash Mendhapurkar of SUTRA, a Jagjit Nagar (near Kasauli) based NGO, " more than 3,800 women from six districts of Himachal have already enrolled for the pad yatra and we are sure of achieving our target of 5,000 women."

All of the enrolled women will gather in Arki (Mandi) on March 31, 2008 and start walking to Shimla on April 1and reach Vidhan Sabha, Shimla on April 3, 2008 afternoon to present the Memorandum to state Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal.

"This gigantic and historical march requires support from all the readers of HimVani who are interested in development of Himachal Pradesh, Mendhapurkar said, adding, "I expect HimVani readers to support at least 500 women pad yatris."

Key demands of ENSS:

a. For the older single women, pension policy should be framed on the model of the existing policy in the neighbouring state of Haryana. Pensions should be paid every month without fail.

b. Those single women who are fighting to secure their rights vis-à-vis their in-laws' family, their cases must be referred to fast track courts. Also, the spouses of all the single women who are not paying the maintenance amount, as decreed by either the gram panchayats or the civil courts, should be legally challenged through fast track courts.

c. The State should ensure that two acres of land is granted on a long-term lease (from government's surplus land pool) to all the economically weak single women who are capable and eager to work as self-employed farmers.

d. Every single woman should be provided with health care facilities from the primary to the tertiary level, free of cost.

To organise this pad yatra, ENSS has called upon individuals to make contributions and make this initiative a mass public movement. A personal contribution of Rs 600 will help cover the costs of one participant of the pad yatra, which includes travel, food and administrative expenses.

"It will also be an expression of your solidarity with this important cause. In this fight for an individual's rights and dignity, we seek your support," said Mendhapurkar.
By Ch. Narendra

Source: http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?passform=enterprisestory&storyid=2842



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