Acting on increasing reports of atrocities against women in Maoist-affected areas across the country, the National Commission for Women has set up a three-member committee to inquire into the issue. 'We have set up a committee that will travel to the Maoist-affected areas by next week to inquire into reports of atrocities against women. It will also inquire into the recent reports coming out from Chattisgarh', Girija Vyas, outgoing chairperson, NCW told the Hindustan Times.
On Wednesday, HT had reported how the Chattisgarh government and state-sponsored vigilante group Salwa Judum, had cordoned off all access to three remote villages - Tadmetla, Timapuram and Morupalli in the tribal Dantewada district -for about two weeks now and where about 300 homes were burnt and an unknown number of women raped and men killed during a security operation.
'Initially, we will cover Bihar and Jharkhand and then cover the rest of the states including Chattisgarh,' said Yasmin Abrar, member, NCW. Abrar will head the inquiry committee. 'It is impossible to get into the cordoned areas. The situation is very desperate and people are caught up in a vicious cycle of violence. The reach of the government is simply not there, nor has anyone heard of any of the developmental schemes,' said Harsh Mander, Supreme Court food commissioner and member, National Advisory Council, who has just come from a visit to one of the cordoned villages.
About one-third of India's more-than-600 districts are said to be Maoist-affected. Reports speak of atrocities being perpetuated on women by both the security forces and the Maoists. Interestingly, Vyas, who retired from NCW on Wednesday, said the biggest challenge she faced during her six-year-old stint was in trying to counter the rising issues and problems with the archaic laws of the country besides an unresponsive administrative system. 'The administrative entities, especially the police, listen but do not obey. They obey only the political masters of the day.'