HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Twenty women members of the dissolved Constituent Assembly who represented various political parties in the body today deplored political parties’ tendency to protect the perpetrators of domestic violence.
Ex-lawmaker Kiran Yadav of the Nepali Congress said she kept receiving calls from her district to secure the release of alleged rapists but she rejected them outrightly.
“We women leaders should resolve that we will never help those who are involved in committing a crime against women,” Yadav told a gathering of women politicians organised by Third Alliance, a human rights organisation, on the problems of political protection of the perpetrators of domestic violence.
She said Madhesi women were least aware of their rights, and therefore, they worst sufferers of domestic violence.
Similarly, Malamati Devi Rana Tharu of Federal Sadbhawana Party said circumstantial evidences suggested that Urmila Rana Tharu who worked as a housemaid at Prakash Bishta’s house in Kailali district was raped and killed, but the police first refused to register an FIR and when they did, they refused to arrest the suspected criminal(s).
Likewise, Bidhya Chapagain, National Legal Advisor, International Commission of Jurists said her organisation found during a study of 12 VDCs in four districts that in most of the cases domestic violence the police first denied to register an FIR and in some other cases, the police, worked under the influence of power wielders and politicians to force the victims withdraw their cases.
On her part, Asha Kumari Sardar of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic said patriarchal values and under representation of women in politics and other organs of the state were the major causes behind increased incidences of political protection of the perpetrators of domestic violence.
Some other speakers said women leaders need to put a united front to act against political patronage of criminals, to expand the network of women groups throughout the country and widen the scope of advocacy programmes across Madhes.
Advocate Dipendra Jha, chairman of Third Alliance said the women leaders need to rise above the party lines to defend the rights of their sisters.
Founding chairman of Third Alliance Ravi Thakur said government should recruit enough number of women in law enforcement agencies and Chief District Administration in order to defend the rights of the victims of domestic violence.
“Madhesi women cannot narrate their sufferings to a doctor. How can they narrate the story of her assault to police?” he questioned. Thakur said women leaders, rights activities need to mount pressure against the Women Commission and Human Rights Commission to protect the rights of women.