Meghalaya women happy at being allowed to elect a village headman
Meghalaya High Court’s order allowing the women to vote in the election of traditional heads at the village level in the state has been welcomed by women bodies as a major reform with far-reaching social benefits.
Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq made this observation on January 28, in connection with the election of the headman of Nohwet village in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills District known worldwide for its famous living root bridges.
The Meghalaya Commission for Women (MCW) felt that it was a positive and welcome step in the right direction.
Speaking to HT, MCW Chairperson Theilin Phanbuh said, “Whenever the Commission interacted with Seng Kynthei (women councils) along with members of the Dorbar Shnongs (village councils), we always emphasized on the need to involve women more effectively at such local councils.”
She added, “This important judgement of the Hon’ble High Court indicates that the Dorbar Shnong can now function as an effective school of democracy and will encourage women to come forward and actively participate in the decision making while bridging the gap of gender inequality.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) felt that it was high time women are given a more proactive role in the village council decision making instead of remaining confined to the kitchen.
CSWO President and social activist Agnes Kharshiing who has been in the forefront fighting for the rights of women especially in rural areas revealed that there are many instances of persecution of families that are deprived of various government benefits such as PDS, health and other welfare schemes as punishment for their women not supporting the ruling dispensation at the village council level.
She said, “Even those who apply for schemes have to go through units of political parties especially the ruling ones. There are single-parent families with only women heading them, who are not allowed to be part of the village council and hence their problems are rarely addressed or even taken up.”
Kharshiing emphasised, “So if women too are part of village council decisions, our society will definitely evolve into a much better and vibrant democracy.”
Former deputy CM and currently a councillor of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, Bindo Lanong, lauded the Court’s observation and said that in the election for a village headman, there should not be any bar on the participation of females over 18-years of age.
He, however, felt that it should be “confined to the village level and not at the higher level of traditional chiefs” since every institution differs from one another.
The village councils refrained from commenting on the matter since the writ petition is awaiting a final outcome in the High Court, but the women folk of this matrilineal state, who control the lineage of the clan as well as property rights, were elated and said such a decision would empower and enable them to root out corruption as well as political interference into day to day affairs at the village level.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- The NMCH administration claimed it had sent the list of nearly 800 health care workers and 1,400 hospital staff to Patna civil surgeon last December, but names of those from the in medical college were missing from the Co-Win portal
- Odisha on Thursday exceeded its target of Covid-19 vaccination by inoculating 44,880 frontline health workers against an aim of 37,076 as vaccinators in 20 of the 30 districts managed to surpass the target.
- India first posted a dedicated ambassador to ASEAN in 2014 following the elevation of ties between the two sides to a strategic partnership and in view of growing cooperation in areas ranging from security to trade.
- Police claimed that Sandip Singh alias Baba who was arrested on Thursday from his Ambedkarnagar hideout told them that Ajit Singh was killed on the orders of two jailed gangsters after he refused to turn hostile in court.
- India is one of the world's leading makers of generic drugs
- New Delhi has free shipments of vaccines to neighbours
- Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar are among beneficiaries
- Pharma prowess allows India to counter China's influence
- Six countries – Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Seychelles and Myanmar – are part of India’s initial rollout of vaccines as grant assistance. There are also plans to supply doses to Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.