20 days on, women’s strike fails to draw govt attention

Kathmandu, August 1:

The relay hunger strike staged by women rights activists in Maitighar Mandala entered the 20th day today, with the government showing little concern to address their demands.

The activists have been demanding the formation of a high-level commission to investigate incidents of violence against women, investigation into the murder of rights activist Laxmi Bohara and security of women right activists.

Senior political leaders including Prachanda, Jhala Nath Khanal, Amik Sherchen and 15 women Constituent Assembly members have met the activists at Maitighar Mandala and expressed solidarity with their demands. Padma Chaudhari of Dang said, “We will not end our protest unless the government takes concrete steps to control violence against women.”

Women have been facing six kinds of violence -- physical, mental, sexual, religious, social and cultural.

The government has failed to punish perpetrators of violence against women due to the lack of a stringent law.

At least 15 women rights activists stage relay hunger strike each day. Some activists have fallen ill and been hospitalised. Chaudhari, who was admitted to the Kathmandu Model Hospital after suffering from severe diarrhoea, said, “Despite ill health, we will continue the strike and see to it that our demands are met.”