Sunday, March 8, 2015

Loksatta seeks citizen inputs for idling Nirbhaya Fund; Asks women to go out and play!

On International Women's Day, the Loksatta Party has called upon all citizens to come up with ideas to use the 'Nirbhaya fund' set up by the central government on the recommendation of the Justice JS Verma committee. LSP founder and chief ideologue Jayaprakash Narayan said it was a shame that the fund lies unused till date.

"When my dear friend, the late Justice Verma, asked us for recommendations after the ghastly Nirbhaya tragedy, a key proposal to set up a Nirbhaya Fund was accepted and a budget allocated," JP recalled. "It angers me that not a single rupee of this fund, now Rs2,000 crore, has been put to use! We don't need another reminder of the dismal state of our governance and the lethargy in every layer of government."

JP said it was important to think about the India we want for all of us, including women. "On this Women's Day, LokSatta Party is seeking ideas from all citizens on how to utilise this fund. It is my personal commitment to take the best of these ideas to Delhi and not rest until they are put to action," he said.

Addressing the press, LSP president Surendra Srivastava said, "We walk the walk. Unlike other parties that pay only lip service to women's empowerment and participation in the political process by fielding proxies and heirs, LSP is being built for women, by women. I am proud that every single aspect of our party, at the national and state levels, be it strategy, leadership, organisation development or ground-level protests, is headed by young and dynamic women who are not only passionate about politics but know what they are talking about."

Elizabeth Seshadri, who chairs the party's national legal committee, said, "LSP had provided a robust set of policies and changes to legislation to replace the antiquated half-measures that currently pervade our law. While some of our recommendations were implemented, several were left out, like fast-track local courts for speedy justice in sexual harassment cases. This must be remedied on priority."

Wishing all Indians and, in particular, women on Women's Day, LSP national general secretary Hyma Potineni urged girls and women to "set themselves free and occupy the playgrounds of the country's towns and cities".

Rejecting the patronising protectionism and overt misogyny of the BJP, proxy female leadership of a near extinct Congress, and empty rhetoric unsupported by action from the Aam Aadmi Party, she demanded not just a day for women but the entire year. The call to take over playgrounds is part of a year-long campaign by the party to unshackle women from regressive social conditioning and empower them.

"Everywhere I see, there are only boys or men at playgrounds," Hyma said. "Girls and women are excluded and seem to have renounced physical activity." If the public mindset is to change, she said, women must lead that change. "We demand that local governments create the infrastructure and ecosystem, including grounds, toilets and facilities, to enable girls and women to participate in and enjoy sport!"

The general secretary said LSP does not agree with the regressive thought that women must be protected. "We believe the fundamental guarantees provided by our Constitution must be enjoyed by every single citizen of this country. Women's right to freedom of movement, livelihood, education, and living with dignity are what we will fight for,” she said.

Those wanting to contribute to the cause can visit and share their thoughts. The web page was launched by national spokesperson Jagadheeswaran Dhakshinamoorthy on Sunday.

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