Sore activist to wind up ashram for Bedias
DISHEARTENED WITH the police and administration?s lack of interest to prevent the Bedia community girls? continuous entry into the profession of prostitution, social activist Champa Behen has decided to close the ashram she is running for the Bedia children. She has now decided take her fight to streets. The ashram is situated in village Phathriya Bedni, some 25 km from Sagar, on Bhopal road.Updated: Mar 20, 2006 13:50 IST
DISHEARTENED WITH the police and administration’s lack of interest to prevent the Bedia community girls’ continuous entry into the profession of prostitution, social activist Champa Behen has decided to close the ashram she is running for the Bedia children. She has now decided take her fight to streets. The ashram is situated in village Phathriya Bedni, some 25 km from Sagar, on Bhopal road.
The Bedia community is involved in Rai dance and follows the prostitution business. The male members of the community normally unwind at home and the female members earns for the family by dancing in social occasions.
The community is residing in six villages in Sagar district. The total population of the village Phathriya Bedni is approximately 1830. Out of 527 women, 129 are the Rai dancers.
Champa Behen said the ashram was established in the year 1995 under the Jawali Yojana for the betterment of the Bedia community. Children aged between 4 and 14 years from both sexes are residing. These students come from all over the State and belonged to this community only.
She alleged that on March 5 she had submitted a complaint letter to the Superintendent of Police pointing out that the 12 girls aged between 12 and 25 years were forced to dance by their parents. But the police never responded to the complaint.
Similarly, on March 12 she submitted a complaint to the Collector seeking his intervention to save the girls. When even this failed to elicit a positive response, she decided to close the ashram. She has locked all the classrooms and said she will not reopen the rooms for teaching.
She said that she and some of the community women will demonstrate at the places where the girls will be dancing. She is also disappointed by the State Government decision to place the Rai dance in the folk dance category.
She said Rai is not a folk dance and by promoting it the government is promoting prostitution. She was also very much frustrated on the recent Rai dance performed in front of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Cooperatives Minister Gopal Bhargava on March 3 in Gharhakota on the occasion of Kisan Mela.
She claimed that one minor girl danced in the fair. She also plans to file a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking a ban on the dance. On the April 10 a massive protest rally will be organised at Sagar.
However, there is still a ray of hope. The Bedias of village Fatehpur had decided to renounce the profession. The NGO ‘Bhore’, which is working for the betterment of the community, helped the community members to decide to keep themselves away from the profession.
The SHO of Mahila police station, Sushmita Niyogi, said that she is taking the complaint seriously and will take strict action on the complaint and will rescue the girls, who stepped into the dancing profession, as early as possible.
First Published: Mar 20, 2006 13:50 IST