The Haryana government’s plan to stamp ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ logo on the voter’s hand during the upcoming three phase Haryana panchayat polls has evoked mixed reactions, with social activists and khap leaders saying it would be a good initiative, but much more is required for the cause of the girl child.
Santosh Dahiya, president of the women wing of state’s Sarv Jatiya Sarvkhap Mahapanchayat, who had been highlighting gender-related issues for years, told HT that she found the government proposal a positive step as only a consistent drive to spread awareness for the cause of the girl child was required in Haryana in the wake of its skewed sex ratio.
“It will indeed be a step forward to enhance the sensitivity of society towards the girl child,” Dahiya, who teaches physical education in the Kurukshetra University (KU), added.
Jind-based Kuldeep Dhanda, who heads the Dhanda khap, also hailed the planned move, saying it would enhance the awareness in society about the import of education and good upbringing of the girl child. “Our khap has for years been working in this direction and it is good to see that the government is also promoting the cause’’, Dhanda, a former state government official, said.
Likewise, Parveen Maan, a Karnal-based activist, said that though a baby-step, it would spread awareness about the cause of the girl child, which was the need of the hour. “We often hear only isolated cases of girls doing well for the family and society, but the government running a collective campaign is a welcome step,” she said.
Khap Leaders skeptical
However, some Khap leaders questioned the government’s planned initiative. Kurukshetra-based Ranbir Boora, who heads the Boora Khap, said it was only a gimmick of the government, as stamping the logo on the voter’s hand would deliver nothing.
“Yeh to sarkaron ka dhakosala hota hai. Achha hota agar MLAs, ministers, gaon-gaon ja kar logon se milen, unki paristhitian samjhen aur unka hul karen (The governments often indulge in such gimmicks and it will be better if MLAs and ministers visit villages, meet people, understand their problems and address them),” said Boora, who had been sarpanch of Kirmuch village in Kurukshtra for several years.
Similarly, Neera Verma, who teaches at KU and has been been associated with the university’s gender sensitisation committee against sexual harassment, said that though the government’s intention was good but the initiative superficial. “Instead of hands, it is needed to put a ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ stamp on people’s minds and strive to change their mindset’’, she added and suggested that handbills on the issue would be more effective.