Tag Archives: Gender

demanding equality on ‘men’s day’

CHANDIGARH: Demanding gender equality and welfare of men-the actual victims of modern day life, Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) and Parivar Raksha Samiti, highlighted the enactment & implementation of ambiguous laws which are easily susceptible to misuse against men.

On the occasion of International Men’s Day, the NGOs announced that they will extend all help to men who’ve been abused by their wives. According to the National Crime Records Bureau from 2005 to 2008, as many as 22,000 men have ended their lives in reverse dowry harassment after allegedly being tormented by their wives. In contrast, dowry harassment has driven 6,800 women to suicide.

The local chapter of SIFF, which gets more than 200 calls related to harassment meted out by women in a day, organized the function on Thursday wherein moving tales of families and husbands who have been thus tortured, were discussed and demands were made for a gender equality. “It is a crime to be born in as a man inIndia, Even Police is aware of the huge number of fake cases but the law is so anti-man that no one comes to rescue the victim because he is a man,” said Mandeep Puri, member of SIFF and brother of a victim.

”Even animals have a ministry and welfare division, but not Indian men. At least they should have a platform where their grievances are heard,” said Human rights activist Nitin Gupta. SIFF plans to commence a nationwide campaign to get a separate welfare ministry and national men’s commission. “More than 98 per cent Indian husbands face domestic violence in terms of economical abuse, mental harassment and relationship cheating,” Mr Gupta added.

Advocate T S Sudan said, “although law was made with the noble intention to protect the rights of women, it is being largely seen that Dowry and Domestic Violence Act is being misused.” Citing NCRB facts, he added in 6,800 cases of dowry harassment, husbands were sent behind bars without any probe.

Section 125 of the Cr.PC, Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA), Section 25 of the HMA, Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act and Domestic Violence Act were labelled discussed as ‘gender biased Acts misused by women.’

The activists stated that in the last 62 years of Indian Independence not a single rupee has ever been allocated for men’s welfare from the Union Budget, not constitutional or quasi-constitutional body ever been formed to study men’s issues. No study has ever been conducted targeted to study men’s issues. And no scheme envisaged for men’s welfare. The NGOs demanded men’s Welfare, promotion of Gender Equality, abolishment of Biased & In-human Laws and modifications in Maintenance Laws.

published on 19th Nov 2009

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Plight of the HIV+ widow

Vrinda Sharma

CHANDIGARH: “The only thing worse than being HIV+ is being an HIV+ widow,” says 26-year-old Pooja Thakur, who lost her husband, a truck driver in Punjab, to AIDS five years ago. Pooja is one of the many widows in the State who are shunned by society once they contract HIV from their husbands.

Compared to the social stigma faced by such women, the medical complications of the disease look frivolous. Apart from being considered a “bad omen” at social functions, most such women are treated as outcasts by their own families.

“My in-laws blamed me for my husband’s death and threw me and my three sons, two of whom are HIV+, out on the street. Because of the social stigma, no one provides shelter or job to an HIV+ person and the females, especially young widows, usually fall prey to sexual abuse,” says Pooja who works as president of the Chandigarh Network of Positive People (CNP+).

While a few of these women manage to find some source of employment, usually as maids by hiding their disease, many fall prey to prostitution. “I lost my husband and I was denied my right over what he left behind. Worst, for no fault of mine, I too had HIV. At first I thought of committing suicide but there was no one to look after my children, so I left the village in Fazilka and went to Ludhiana, but poverty drove me to prostitution,” rues a 26-year-old mother of two whose husband contracted the disease by sharing infected needles.

According to the National AIDS Control Organisation, over 17 per cent of HIV/AIDS cases in Punjab are caused by sharing of infected needles, the national percentage for which is barely 3 per cent.

According to the CNP+ Programme Coordinator, “The national training module for prevention of transmission of HIV to children, 2002, is flawed because there is no consideration of the socio-economic variables of rural India. All efforts of the government agencies are focused at getting photos clicked and putting up a colourful exhibition followed by lunch and tea for the guests and VIPs.”

According to a senior official of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society, over 50,000 people visited the Red Ribbon Express, a special train run to create awareness among the masses about HIV/AIDS. The official added that the Government grants widows a pension and free education to all children irrespective of their HIV status. The pension received by a widow, HIV+ or not, is Rs.250 per month, which comes once in a few months, according to Meenaj Vij, who has been HIV+ for the past 14 years.

“Though the first few years are difficult, each widow learns to live for the sake of her children. A few lucky ones have a supportive family or a job, but even the unlucky ones carry on hoping for a better future for their children,” she adds.

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