The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), with a membership 1.12 crore women in 23 states, expresses its serious concern about the spate of rising hate crimes and violence, fear, unemployment, and hunger. It pledges that the women are not going to stay quiet anymore and in order to express their anger, it is holding a National Women’s Protest Rally in Delhi on 4 September 2018. The Rally will begin at Mandi House at 11 am and culminate in a public meeting at Parliament Street. The meeting will be addressed by the family members of some of the victims of violence from different parts of the country.
The main issues addressed in the Rally will be the alarming increasein violence and brutality against women, especially girl children, growing unemployment, food security, the grim issue of starvation and malnutrition and the escalating communal and casteist attacks with the political patronage of the RSS and the BJP. The ‘BetiBachao’ slogan has been reduced to a farce.
The frightening regularity with which women and young girls are subjected to violence and abuse in various parts of the country, is a matter of grave concern. Gang-rape, abduction, physical and mental abuse, torture of various kinds, threats of killing and rape are not isolated incidents. Instead they are a part of the larger systemic problem. Concerted efforts have been made by some groups to show women their ‘true place’. With the political patronage of the BJP-RSS, there has been a spurt in the number and brutality of such incidents against women.
According to NCRB figures, available only till 2016, some 6.68 lakh cases of violence against women were recorded by the police across the country in 2015 and 2016 together. These include rapes and gang rapes, kidnappings, assaults, domestic violence, dowry killings, and other crimes. These numbers are staggering – translating into about 915 cases every day or nearly 40 incidents every hour. Just in 2016, there were nearly 39,000 reported incidents of rape. That’s over four rapes every hour, across the country. Such is the scale of this assault on women that nearly 17,000 girls below the age of 16 were raped in 2016. Cases of violence against children that are pending in courts have risen to an all time high of over 2 lakh.And conviction rates for all crimes against women were just 19% and for rape only 25%. That means one in four rapists are getting away scot free!
Women from all over the country will be participating in large numbers to register their anger and protest against the ruling Modi regime.The BJP had promised to make women’s safety as one of their focal issues in their manifesto of 2014. However, the last four years have seen an unprecedented rise of violence against women in all its forms, creating an atmosphere of insecurity and terror.
The Modi regime promised two crore jobs per year, but has not provided jobs to even two lakh per year. On the contrary, demonetisation has resulted in the loss of 90 lakh jobs between October 2016 and October 2017.In our country where more than 10 lakh job-seekers enter the job market every month, unemployment is at its highest, and women’s work participation rate (a mere 25.8%) is the lowest since Independence. 77 per cent of the households in the country have no regular wage/salaried person. According to the Labour Bureau, unemployment rate among the graduate youths (18 to 29 years) increased from 28 per cent to 35 per cent between 2014 and 2015. The disastrous policies of the Modi government have aggravated the problems of women, both those working or seeking work.
The BJP government promised to control price rise but, in fact, prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing and the public distribution system has collapsed. The mandatory linkage of Aadhaar and the elimination of beneficiaries are resulting in starvation deaths.This regime has been totally indifferent towards the problems facing the marginalised sections of women.
In addition, the BJP and the fascistic RSS have been unleashing terror by spreading caste and communal hatred and violence. Mob lynching has become the order of the day. Extra-constitutional and self-appointed vigilante groups are having a free rein and roaming scot-free after killing people with impunity. They have taken the law into their hands and have derived tacit support from their political masters. The latest revelations about the hand of the SanatanSanstha, a Hindutva terrorist outfit, in the assassinations of Gauri Lankesh, M MKalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, have shocked the nation.
The women coming to participate in the rally will stay over and also join the workers-peasants rally the next day, on 5th September, being organised by the CITU, AIKS and AIAWU.
AIDWA has been waging relentless struggles on these and related issues at the ground level all these past years. The 4 September rally is thus a culmination of these ongoing struggles, channelising the anger and discontent of people against the Modi regime.