Women’s Day internationally, is no more a day, it’s a whole week of marketing blitzkrieg. It is no different this year, except that a small group of women in Mumbai have decided to claim their space as ‘women’. Whenever one hears about women’s rights, it would be seen that an attempt at gender justice is being followed through. Whenever one thinks about women’s rights, it is considered that a historical wrong is being corrected. Well, that’s certainly not the case. This group of women in Mumbai find themselves outside the purview of justice altogether, because of the warped sense of women empowerment prevalent in our society. MASHAAL – Mother’s And Sisters of Husbands Against Abuse of Law, the women’s wing of Vaastav Foundation a Men’s rights and Family rights group – organized a dharna, to highlight the abuse of law at the hands of women and the fact that they have been forgotten as women, all due to our attempt to create ‘women-friendly’ laws.
These women have experienced first hand the ills due to ascension of faltering feminism. They have seen how inspite of being innocent, they and their close male relative – a son or a brother – have had to face persecution at the hands of police, media and the judiciary, just because of ‘women-centric’ laws. They found themselves on the wrong side of laws created for protection of women, just because they had a male relative in the eye of a storm that was tailor-made by society to feel better about having made their women safer.
They are the women who have faced abuse from their daughter-in-laws, but have been told that there is no law for their protection. If at all they have to get their wrongdoers punished then they have to accuse their hapless sons and brothers to be the prime accused. While on the other hand a mere complaint by their daughter-in-laws and sisters-in-laws are enough to land them in jail and fro them being branded as ‘greedy in-laws’ forever.
These are the women who have chosen to not cower down to the abusers at the altar of extortion. These women have chosen to fight. For themselves. For 2 month old Zoya, who was accused of dowry harassment by her step mother and scores of other children who have been announced as criminals even before could understand what crime is. They are fighting for Sita Devi, the 90 year old Oriya nonagenarian, who was frail enough to barely stand up, but had to go to jail, so that the state could ‘protect’ a woman and claim its machoism as a protector.
According to statistics from the National Crime Record Bureau, since 1999 more than 6,45,500 women have been accused of dowry harassment, out of which 90% have been chargesheeted by the police as ‘accused’. Less than 10% of such cases are found true, rest all being a result of vengeance by unscrupulous women. This means an overwhelming percentage of innocents are accused, arrested, chargesheeted and acquitted due to these laws. The losses inspite of clear acquittals are unimaginable. The cases are won but what is left behind is a deep scar on their psyche of having been accused of something that they never did.
The various women’s commissions have abandoned them since long. We have records of such constitutional bodies created to ‘protect’ women which have refused to help them, saying they do not have the ‘mandate’ to do so. In such a scenario, they are not wrong to feel alienated from the definition of their gender. Are the various commissions set-up by governments only for wives or all women?
They refuse to accept this isolation. This women’s day, they have carried out a signature campaign on a saree and will be sending this saree to the Prime Ministers Office as a reminder to the Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi that ‘THEY ARE WOMEN TOO’ ‘Mothers And Sisters ARE WOMEN TOO’
Will the PM respond to this?