The National Commission for Women (NCW) has urged the Chhattisgarh Government not to pressurise villagers to join the "Salwa Judum" campaign for fighting naxalites in the state.
The Commission expressed concern at the increase in atrocities on tribals caught in the intensified conflict between the naxalites and the Salwa Judum campaign and demanded an immediate end to the recruitment of young boys and girls as special police officers who are armed with guns and ammunition to fight the ultras.
After visiting the naxalite-affected district of Dantewara, NCW members Malini Bhattacharya and Manju Snehlata Hembram demanded that instead of running permanent camps and involving people in the Salwa Judum camapaign—which opened them to naxalite reprisal if they returned to their villages—the Government should make all effort to provide them with security in the villages so that they can continue with their normal activities. "Development efforts centering around villages is also likely to reduce naxalite influence in these areas," said NCW chairperson Girija Vyas.
In their report, the NCW team also did not rule out the possibility of atrocities against women in the Salwa Judum camps though it did not have any direct evidence of it. Pegging its apprehensions on the fact-finding report of the All India Women's Committee and a statement by a tribal woman of alleged rape by some Naga battalion personnel, the NCW asked the Government to set up an independent commission to probe these cases.
In their recommendations, the two NCW members suggested rehabilitation of Salwa Judum activists in their villages and their development, immediate end to the campaign, providing basic amenities and training in alternative livelihood to the young boys and girls, compensation to all women and children who have lost their kin or homes and legal aid for all 41 women under-trials in the Jagdalpur jail.
In another development, the Commission also plans to draft a national law and send it to the Government in order to regulate the working of placement agencies that bring women domestic workers to Delhi (and other metros) but quite often also indulge in trafficking.
The NCW will soon discuss with various stakeholders the need to lay down regulatory measures including registering of placement agencies, punishing unlicensed agencies, repatriating minor girls with the help of the respective state governments, bringing transparency in commissions received by agencies and establishing guidelines for minimum wages.
Reacting to queries at a news conference, Vyas welcomed the sentencing of Manu Sharma, held guilty of killing Jessica Lall, as it would instill confidence in women about getting justice.
"The judgement in the Jessica Lall case will increase confidence of women in the judiciary. They can now be assured that the guilty will be punished. We thank the media and the judiciary in ensuring that justice has been done in the case," she said.