National Commission for Women at it again

What exactly is the message National Commission for Women(NCW) has for Indian women is an interesting question!  Just a few months back, the NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma made news for advising women that being called sexy could be taken as a complement rather than as an affront.

Well here is a complete about turn from the same Mamta ‘foot-in-the-mouth’ Sharma now advising women to dress carefully in order to avoid attacks on them.  News below:

NEW DELHI: National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma’s statement asking women to dress carefully to avoid crimes (like molestation) against them has sparked outrage and disgust with rights activists questioned the selection process of NCW office-bearers.

Sharma’s comments came close on the heels of the removal of Alka Lamba from a fact-finding committee probing the Guwahati molestation case for revealing the victim’s identity.

While speaking about the molestation case on Tuesday, Sharma stopped short of prescribing a dress code. She said, “Be careful about how you dress… Aping the west blindly is eroding our culture and causing such crimes to happen.”

The statement is all the more perplexing and absurd being made in context of the well-publicized Guwahati molestation case.

We sincerely hope that the so called women’s commission which is nothing more than National Confusion for Women is either overhauled completely or maybe even closed down since it is not serving any useful purpose whatsoever.  Several well known feminists and women politicians themselves have expressed the same sentiment:

There has never been an assessment or social audit of the NCW’s work in taking up women’s issues, advocate Flavia Agnes said. “They have nothing to do with women’s groups or women’s movement. Rather than taking women’s issues to the government, they are busy doing a PR job for the government,” she added.

While Agnes wondered who were selected as NCW office-bearers and their credibility, Ranjana Kumari suggested an electoral college to choose NCW functionaries. “Now, it is a parking lot or a rehabilitation centre for bureaucrats and politicians who the ruling party can’t accommodate anywhere else.”

Sharma was removed as the chief of Rajasthan Pradesh Mahila Congress after she was accused of anti-party activities in 2010 after a six-year stint. The PMO found no substance in the complaint and named her the NCW chief.

CPM leader Brinda Karat demanded the NCW chairperson withdraw her statement or quit. “Such advice is unwarranted and militates against the mandate of the commission. It only strengthens the forces who blame victims for the crimes against them,” she said.

Earlier, at a seminar in Jaipur in February, Sharma had told women, “Don’t be offended if someone calls you ‘sexy’, rather take it positively.”

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said, “The NCW’s role in the Assam molestation case undermined the probe and privacy of the victim. We hope the NCW chairperson and its members will focus on standing by women rather than giving them advisories.”

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