Madhya Pradesh women’s commission chairperson Lata Wankhede on Thursday said “girls should use a helmet instead of wearing a veil or a scarf as it raises suspicion against them in public.”
“Girls said they used veil to save their face from pollution and harmful sunrays. I think if this is the reason, they should use helmets instead of scarves,” Wankhede told HT.
“This is my personal view. It is also an unsafe practice for them as they are hiding their identities. If a girl goes missing, police can search her by asking people and through video footage of CCTV cameras,” she added.
In June, Madhya Pradesh women and child development minister Maya Singh’s statement that girls should not wear naqaab or a mask kicked up a controversy. “Before banning the naqaab altogether here, I will call a meeting with school-going and college-going students to know their opinion and why they are wearing these masks all the time,” she had said.
Following her statement, political leaders and activists had hit out at her saying no ruling party can infringe upon the freedom of appearance.
Commission looks into harassment cases
A two-day bench of the commission to hear cases of harassment against women was set up on Wednesday, after two years.
Around 40 cases, related to domestic violence and family disputes, were heard
“Fear of society still haunts women and girls. I have received many complaints related to atrocities on women but the major problem is that they don’t come forward to fight injustice due to fear of society,” Wankhede said.
A female employee of a multinational telecom company lodged a harassment complaint with the commission against her boss and the management of the company.
The woman said her reporting manger used to harass her mentally and physically. As she was a member of the Vishakha team, she had raised the issue but the management sacked her, the woman alleged.
Wankhede said in the next hearing, the company official and the woman’s reporting manager would be called. “If the allegations are found to be true, action would be taken against the company.”
The case of a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) woman constable, who attempted suicide at the Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal in 2014 after alleged sexual harassment by her deputy commandant, was also heard by the commission.
The case is pending before the court. The woman constable lodged a complaint that despite the case pending before the court, she was being called regularly for departmental inquiry. She said she was suffering from mental trauma due to this.
A group of students of Jawharlal Nehru Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (Paramedical College) lodged a complaint against their college principal for harassing women.
The students alleged that the principal used to call the girls to his private clinic and asked for sexual favours. “If we refuse, he threatens to fail us in the exams,” a student said.
The students said recently the principal also rusticated 40 students who raised their voices against him. Wankhede said the commission would call the principal during the next hearing.