Modi notably inactive on women issues, says NYT report

Washington, Dec. 23 : Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's record on women's issues has been dismal.

According to the New York Times, the Gujarat's chief minister since 2001, called for the establishment of a Nari Adalat in each of the more than 200 administrative units in Gujarat, but his record on women has always been poor.

According to Oxfam India, more than one in three married women in Gujarat is a victim of domestic violence.

Despite this, Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city, was found this year to have just one officer to register complaints of spousal abuse, provide legal aid, monitor cases and take victims to shelters, the report said.

Neeta Hardikar, director of Anandi, a group that advocates for rural women, said that while violence against women is a 'normalized phenomenon all over India', Gujarat's government is notably inactive, it added.

According to the report, winning Gujarat is a steppingstone to national victory, and the Nari Adalats could be a conduit to hundreds of thousands of rural women's votes.

Some local activists fear that Modi will attempt to install his cronies in the courts.

If he becomes prime minister and nationalizes the system, one could envision this vehicle for justice becoming a political tool that conditions judicial relief on political support, the report said.

But if his administration truly wants to help its female constituents, it must not use the Nari Adalats as political pawns.

Instead, it should improve the formal justice system while funding private initiatives, like the women's courts, that support the public good, the report added.

--ANI (Posted on 23-12-2013)

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