Women’s body not to send team to Rajasthan

June 15th, 2008 - 6:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) The National Commission for Women (NCW) Sunday said it had not received any complaint from the Gujjar community of police atrocities on their protesting women, but added that it had given suo moto orders that the women be treated humanely and according to the law. NCW chairperson Girija Vyas told IANS Sunday that they had first given the instructions to the Rajasthan police “ten days ago”, when 26 women from the Gujjar community were arrested for stopping railway traffic near Bandikui in Dausa district for nearly six days.

“We had given suo-moto instructions that they should be respected and treated well,” she said, adding that the “law should take its course, but if they are innocent then they should be released”.

Vyas said the instructions were repeated after she read media reports that the Gujjar community had filed complaints of harassment of their arrested women. “But, I have not seen records of any such complaints,” she said.

The women have been given bail and released 12 June - a breakthrough which helped the stalled talks between the Rajasthan government and Gujjar leaders to inch forward.

“Now that the women have been released, there is no point in sending a delegation. But, if there are any complaints, they are welcome to approach the commission,” she said.

The Gujjars have been on protest since May 23. In Rajasthan, while the Gujjars have been classified as other backward classes (OBCs), they want ST status like the Meenas and a share of the quota pie. Ironically, OBCs get 27 percent reservation and STs 7.5 percent, but the perception is that the community will get a larger share of the quota pie with ST status.

The community had held similar protests all over Rajasthan from May 29 to June 4 last year. Normal life was paralysed and at least 26 people were killed in the violence that seemed headed towards a caste war between Meenas and Gujjars last year.

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