Recently I came back from West Bengal. I was there on 2 days visit which I wanted to extend but the state didn't allow me to do so for the reasons best known to them though to me Covid was the reason they gave whereas I was there to work and Gov. Of India has not stopping working because of Pandemic. I went to enquire into the reports of violence against women after the election results and what I saw was much more than what was coming in social media. Media as usual is very selective and it's not only absent on ground, but is running a state lead campaign Women who were not even part of any political party but were critical to ruling party and CM are being targeted. Goons are pelting stones on their houses, sending threat messages, even forcefully making them pay for their parties. These educated women are worried about their young daughters and want to send the out of the state. This is the condition in Kolkata which is capital of the state. Women in outskirts of Kolkata and other districts sp. In villages are worst hit. Many allegedly raped but are afraid to come out and report. They are afraid that those same rapists will not let them live and police will not help them. Also there is social pressure and fear that they will not be accepted in society or won't be able to get married if society knows about the rape. Many women lost there homes and whatever meager possessions they had. Their houses got burnt, there clothes, jewelry, utensils even rashan got looted. Many of them flead their homes and living in camps set by some people where the living condition is not proper sp seeing the spread of Corona. Younger members of the families, men and women have left their elderlies at home and flead after getting severely beaten up allegedly by ruling party goons to save their lives. I saw so much pain and anguish in their eyes and had no answer to their question about their return back to their homes. Younger children where clinging to their mothers. What about their security, food,health, education? The state is not bothered at all. Officers are not allowed to meet anyone from center. This was not the first time when officials were not allowed to meet, it happens every time I visit and want to know what action they took on the cases I went to enquire into. Once it took 5 hrs just to get a FIR copy from them and latter when I was leaving the station the Incharge came to me and said 'madam sorry for what happened as you know here we have to take permission for every single thing from CMO'. In all this the same media persons and activists who make a bee line for covering every incident at every and any place outside West Bengal are just believing what police press note says. Not seen anyone at jantar matar holding ply cards, no social media posts from so called feminists who don't miss a single occasion on the incidents happening in their target states. Even a statement becomes bigger crime than rape happening in West Bengal for them. Is their crusade for equality and fight against violence against women limited for women of their choice? Democracy is not only about winning elections, it is also about giving people the right to choose what they want to say, follow or un follow and once you become a chief minister you need to work for not only people who chose you but also for people who didn't. You can't discriminate and start taking revenge with people who didn't vote for you or worked for other party. Hopefully good seance will prevail in the minds of people in power in the state and things will change before it's too late. Rekha Sharma, chairperson, National Commission for Women.
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