Third Nari Mukti Sangharsh Sammelan, Patna 1988: Resolutions

Nari Mukti Sangharsh Sammelan


Newsletter May 1988

1. We strongly condemn and oppose the expansion of the tourism industry in Goa for the following reasons:

(i) The government and the big hoteliers project a distorted image of women in Goa and Goan culture through advertisements which has resulted in increasing sexual harassment of women.

(ii) Sex-tourism is subtly being promoted through massage parlours and casinos and prostitution is on the rise.

(iii) The government is also acquiring land and spending on the infrastructure for five star hotels thereby displacing women and / men from their traditional occupations/dwellings.

(iv) Local festivals like Carnival, folk-songs and dances are being commercialised and vulgarised.

2. On behalf of the Nan Mukti Sangharsh Sammelan, we wish to state that Ms. Kathorine married to Mohd. Mukter Alan, a practising lawyer of Bhagalpur, Bihar, was gang-raped, after four months of her marriage by her husband and four other men. This occurred on January, 14th 1988. The accused was arrested and granted bail on 2nd/ 3rd Feb, only two weeks after committing the crime.

We are making an urgent appeal against this bail and demand that Md. Alan and his accomplices be re-arrested. Secondly, we demand that the case be transferred to Patna. Thirdly, we demand cancel1ation of the license of Md. Alam from the Bar Association. Fourthly, we demand that rape be made a non-bai1able offense. Lastly, Section 493 should be added by the police.

3. We support Kamelesh and the Delhi women’s groups in their struggle against the Delhi police atrocities which resulted in the death of Kamlesh’s child. We condemn the Delhi Police’s attempts at suppressing enquiry reports.

4. This conference deplores the increasing communal violence directed against the minorities in this country. The State is also involved in this brutal attack. We feel that this spread of communalism is a cancer that is vitiating our society and is a great barrier in the path of achieving a truly just and democratic society and women’s liberation. This conference therefore resolves that it will do its best to resist this attack on the minorities and work to create an atmosphere of communal harmony and security for all the minorities.

5. Kaiga is a nuclear power plant proposed in Karnataka near Karwar District. Despite the protest of ecology groups, women’s and anti nuclear groups, the work has started. Karnataka suffers from drought, hence what is the need for this kind of expenditure. It will affect the ecology of the region as the monsoon rains attracted by the dense forest will stop. This plant will cause genetic mutilation. Without exploring less disastrous source of energy, Kaiga should be stopped immediately.

6. Pulsara has now been released by to Sri Lankan Government. Pulsara Liyahage, 28 yrs, was arrested under Prevention of Terrorist Act on 1-11-86. She has been an active feminist who has always stood by basic human rights of Sinhala and Tamil masses. Pulsara went to jail in the conviction that peace between the two communities was worth struggling for. We condemn insidious mental torture and physical maltreatment by the Government and threat of being confined in prison for long time and we support the demand that she should be freed immediately.

7. The prevention of environmental degradation and the regeneration of nature is crucially linked to women’s ability to survive. It impinges on women’s access to land and other resources, employment, health, even the violence they face. We resolve:

—to fight all forms of development, industrialisation and technological changes that are environmentally damaging.

—Seek out alternative forms of development and technologies that would be environmentally regenerative, egalitarian, decentralised and participatory.

8. While the leadership of the women’s movement should remain in women’s hands, we recognise and welcome the participation in the women’s movement of mass organisations and men in other progressive movements, although the theory and practice of these comrades on the women’s questions, may not yet be fully developed. We should also seek ways of increasing such participation and ideological understanding.

9. We deplore the explosion of communalism and religious fundamentalism in public life that is being systematically promoted by State power today. Fundamentalist values, of whatever religion highlight the most patriarchal aspects of traditional cultures, and in the case of Hinduism, fundamentalism is linked with casteist forms of oppression. Under state patronage this culminates in serious erosions of women’s rights and dignity as seen in Shahbano judgement and the Deorala Sati incident or in cases like that of Indu Jain. Women’s organisations should intervene in communal riots and fundamentalist legislations and help create democratic and secular public opinion which does not sacrifice women’s rights on the altar of religion.

10. This conference offers its solidarity and support to all oppressed people who are involved in struggle for their rights in economic, social and political spheres. We extend our solidarity to the struggling people of Jharkhand, Gorkhaland, Karbi, Anglong etc., for the realisation of their aspirations.

11. Women face specific forms of violence: rape and other forms of sexual abuse, female foeticide, witch-killing, Sati, dowry murders, wife beating. Such violence and the continued sense of insecurity that is instilled in women as a result keeps them bound to the home, economically exploited and socially suppressed. In organising struggle against violence in the family, society and the state, we recognise that the state is one of the main sources of violence and stands behind the violence committed by men against women in the family, the workplace and the neighbourhood. For these reasons a mass women’s movement should focus on the struggle against state violence while building the strength of women to confront all those who use violence against them in the home or out of it.

12. This conference agrees that the developmental programmes are not according to the needs of women in this country. During the 1985 march to Delhi, Mahila Sangharsh Vahini realised the though it is a well developed region, there were no arrangements for basic facilities like latrines for women. This conference resolves that there should be adequate toilets for women in all villages as well the slum areas in cities. Similarly pure drinking water should also be provided in every village and in slums of cities as they cause great hardship to women. Water and toilets should be the priority of all developmental schemes.

13. The conference demands minimum wages for equal share in work for women. This conference opposes all repression by the state and landlords and their goondas on people’s movements, the ban and resulting oppression of Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samity.

14. Mahila Mukti Sangharsh Sammelan resolves that present health care system has anti-women biases. Family planning programmes that use target oriented approach must be vehemently exposed. We express solidarity with nurses and other health workers. The Sammelan condemns contraceptive testing and research that treats women as guinea- pigs without any consideration of health hazards to women e.g. Net-en and Depoprovera. Given the high incidence of premature babies, resources on New Reproductive Technology should not be invested. Abortion should be made safe and free and it should be available as back-up service on demand by women.

15. This conference condemns the suppression of people in the Boudhgaya movement by the state machinery. During the struggle ten thousand acres of land was given to the people. But now there are false cases against 300 women and 1300 men from this movement. We protest such actions by the State.

16. Under the name of modernisation mass scale retrenchment of both men and women is taking place. This conference opposes such action by the Government and demands that jobs should be given to all retrenched people.

17. This conference resolves that shelter for women victims of violence should be provided on a priority basis. Women are trapped in their homes in a violent situation for lack of a decent shelter. To deal with this situation emergency shelters should be provided in all slums and rural areas which will give shelter for a day or two. This should be backed up by temporary shelter. The government should also have the responsibility of providing shelter to all women, who do not have the support of their family, on a long term basis in all government housing schemes. The conference also demands that all rescue homes for women should be made secure. Women residents should be treated with dignity and respect. Employment and training should be provided for all residents in order to make them independent. Also there should not be restrictions on the movement of adult women residents of the homes.

18. This conference opposes test on sex determination which leads to the abortion of female foetuses. Such tests should only be carried out in recognised government institutions only for the detection of genetic abnormalities. The government should impose a ban on such tests which are carried out by unscrupulous medical practitioners indiscriminately.

The conference could not consider all the resolutions put forward due to shortage of time.