Haryana state commission for women vice-chairperson Suman Dahiya is facing flak for her recent remark on legalising prostitution. “If you can’t eradicate or ban it (prostitution) then legalise it,” she had said.
For the past month, Dahiya has been issuing statements about legalising flesh trade and has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. Her comments have not gone down well with commission chairperson Kamlesh Panchal. “It could be her individual opinion but saying this on behalf of the women’s commission is not acceptable. I have discussed the issue with other members of the commission. We are of the opinion that we are for the welfare of women and not their exploitation,” said Panchal.
Panchal has also written to Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to take strict action against the vice-chairperson. Her letter dated July 9 reads, “A statement that degrades the integrity of women can never be accepted by the women’s commission. Hence, the commission condemns her (Dahiya’s) statements. I strongly recommend strict disciplinary action (against Dahiya).”
On the other hand, Dahiya said her powers “are equal to the chairperson and no one can issue a notice” to her. To which Panchal said she had the authority to issue a notice on behalf of the women’s commission.
Dahiya was of the view that legalising prostitution would help maintain data; specific places could be fixed for sex workers and health facilities could be provided to them. “No one can say how many women are into prostitution today. We don’t have accurate data. As a result, no sex worker has been rehabilitated in the state so far,” she said.
Agree to disagree
The other members of the women’s commission have distanced themselves from Dahiya’s remarks and clarified that they do not share her opinion.
Women’s commission member Parvesh Rana said that legalising flesh trade was not the solution “It will push more girls into the trade,” she said.
Another member, Pooja Sharma, said that every member of the commission should actively work for the betterment of women rather than making such irresponsible statements.
Suman Dahiya, however, was firm on her opinion. “I will not budge under pressure. They are trying to deflect attention. This (prostitution) is a serious issue. It is a problem in the state.”