Sunday, November 28, 2004

Stop Caste Panchayats’ Atrocities -- AIDWA

AIDWA Holds Citizens Convention

SWAMI Agnivesh warned that infringement of constitutional rights by self-styled gotras, castes and religious panchayats passing fatwas against women, dalits, minorities must stop or else these attacks against the weaker sections will be taken up at the United Nations Committee Against Slavery (of which he is the chairperson) as well as on the national and international fora.

He was among a battery of distinguished intellectuals, social workers, women and dalit leaders who expressed their determination to fight against all forms of inequality at a ‘Citizens Convention Against Attacks on Constitutional Rights’ by Self-styled Panchayats’ organised by the Haryana unit of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). The convention was held in the background of the now infamous Assanda village case wherein a pregnant woman, Sonia, was being forced by a gotra panchayat to dissolve her marriage and tie rakhis to her husband. Such cases of violation of human rights are on the rise in Haryana and it has forced AIDWA along with other progressive organisations and individuals to take up cudgels against such barbaric tendencies.

The convention included a public hearing of the victims and persons affected by such unconstitutional panchayats. The victims narrated the horrific details of their suffering. The large number of participants coming from all walks of life were aghast at the extent of sufferings which included physical and mental torture, worst forms of social boycott and family dislocation, economic ruin and social humiliation. The convention passed a detailed resolution demanding stern action against such blatant violation of constitutional rights and strict administrative and legislative measures to stop these violations.

The speakers in the convention included Professors Dr Choudhary, Surajbhan, AIDWA state general secretary, Jagmati Sangwan, Shubha, Dr Ranbir Singh Dahiya. Among those who attended the convention included Professors Khazan Singh Sangwan, Neelima Dahiya, Mahavir Sharma and Balbir Singh Rather (Principal); Dr O P Lathwal, Ramkishan Rather, Dr Baldev Singh, Mahavir Khatri, Dr Pardeep Kumar, Dr Vizir Nehra, Dr Ajmer Singh Kajal, Dr Santosh Mudgil and a host of prominent citizens. The large number of participants from all over the state forced the organisers to shift the venue in the open as the big hall proved to be inadequate.

Source: People's Democracy, November 28, 2004

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