Withdraw cases filed against women for preventing entry of agri minister in Spiti valley: Activists to HP govt
Over a dozen women groups and social activists, in an open letter, have demanded that the state government should withdraw the cases filed against the women under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.Updated: Jun 30, 2020 18:55 IST
The women groups and social activists across Himachal Pradesh have expressed solidarity with women in the tribal Lahaul-Spiti district’s Kaza against whom criminal cases were filed for preventing entry of agriculture minister Ram Lal Markanda in the valley in wake of Covid-19.
Over a dozen women groups and social activists, in an open letter, have demanded that the state government should withdraw the cases filed against the women under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Locals led by Kaza Mahila Mandal had staged a protest against Markanda, who also is the local MLA, for not adhering to the quarantine norms. Markanda had termed the protest as politically motivated.
In the letter, the women groups and activists stated that on June 9 people of Kaza were protesting against the entry of outsiders in the valley. “However, when they learnt that the agriculture minister was entering the valley in a cavalcade of 15 cars, the locals got agitated and protested against the minister for violating quarantine norms,” the letter stated.
It said that while the Centre and state government has started to lift restrictions, the people of Spiti valley have decided to continue with the lockdown norms to prevent the spread of virus.
“To continue with the strict lockdown was also necessary given the lack of basic health facilities in the valley. Also, it would have been difficult to maintain social distancing in the tribal valley where people are dependent on each other,” the women activists stated.
They said that the June 9 protest was triggered after the members of Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) started to bring in migrant labourers. The locals had gone to submit a memorandum to the administration but learnt that all the officers were at the entry gate of the valley as the minister was visiting the area.
The locals urged the minister to go into quarantine. However, when he didn’t agree the people protested and turned him away. Subsequently, cases were registered by the police against 190 women of Kaza under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
“Instead of appreciating the tribal women for their proactive work to save the valley, the government is humiliating and harassing them by registering police cases,” alleged the women groups and social activists.
“We want the government to withdraw all the cases filed against these women or a compliant will be filed with the Women Commission and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes,” they added.