Bailancho Saad observes International Women’s Day

Three complainants of sexual assaults gave testimonies of their difficult struggle and the police further traumatizing them by filing complaints on the complainants. Rape survivors brought to the fore that they have not received compensation under the victim compensation scheme. One was notified in 2012 and the other in January 2019.
Bailancho Saad observes International Women’s Day
Bailancho Saad observes International Women’s Day

PANAJI: Bailancho Saad observed International Women’s Day at Panaji on Sunday with the theme `Citizen’s Rights are Women’s Rights'. The programme comprised of personal testimonies, reports, talks, poetry, song dance, documentary and resolutions.

The home department and the department of women and child say that no funds were available. In all 20 applications are pending for compensation, said Sabina Martins of Bailancho Saad.

Dr Martins while speaking about the work done by Bailancho Saad, narrated the difficulties in accessing the justice redressal system for women. Most of the systems lack sensitive personnel, infrastructure, and budget to carry out the tasks. The Goa State Commission for Women (GSCW) and the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) have no chairpersons. The Goa Human Rights Commission (GHRC) chairman was appointed recently after four years.

There are no independent protection officers under Domestic Violence Act instead BDOs are given additional responsibilities of protection officers. She further mentioned that schemes meant for women do not reach the poor, vulnerable sections as they do not have documentation. The senior citizen's card cannot be made because they do not have birth certificates. Women, despite having property rights have difficulty in getting electricity, water, gas, property etc on their name.

Pushpa Pednekar and Afrose Shaikh launched the new mobile number of Bailancho Saad: 8668564382 for the public. Vaishali Revodkar shared the difficulties as a Dalit to get her house repaired as a single parent since the documents were not in her custody.

Anamika shared the difficulties to get various documents to run her hand cart. Former Goa State Commission for Women chairperson Dr Pramod Salgaocar lauded the effort of women who were fighting for their rights. Despite the women’s struggle, the issues of the past 30 years still remain the same. She stated that the government is duty-bound to provide for the facilities and all that it takes to ensure that women get equal rights.

At the same time, it is the responsibility of the family and society to show by individual practice non-discrimination and non-violence. Advocate Sonia Pereira enumerated the various provisions of law, by virtue of which a person became a citizen and the corresponding rights which enables a citizen to vote, own property, get government facilities like education, health, pension etc.

Adv Pereira further explained there were protests against Citizens Amendment Act (CAA) as it discriminates against people based on religion. The Refugee Act covers people of other countries seeking to stay in India. The National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) is based on information based on documents which many do not have, she added.

The meeting resolved that the NPR and NRC process will make many women doubtful citizens as they do not have documents, some are put out of homes, many change their names after marriage and documents have different names and place. The sex workers, transgender, street children, tribals, Dalits and homeless people will become stateless, couped in detention centres, disposed of their land, leading to further marginalisation and human rights violations.

Bailancho Saad demanded that CAA be repealed as it is discriminatory and a halt to the NPR, NRC process as it will disfranchise and make people, more so women stateless. Bailancho Saad condemns the violence and fear unleashed and called for democratic debates and discussions to resolve peacefully the emerging issues. The meeting demanded that justice redressal mechanisms be efficient and pro-people policies for sustainable livelihoods and development.

Savita through her dance propounded empowerment while Marjeena Badigar recited a poem calling for breaking of shackles with courage. The programme was compered by Sonam Kaisurkar. The programme began with a documentary Dismantle Patriarchy and ended with all standing, making the equal to sign in keeping with the theme ‘Each for Equal’ for international Women’s Day.

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