Guest Post by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
The elections in Delhi are approaching.
Violence, as well as discrimination against women, and sheer denial of women’s dignity and rights, has been a huge concern for Delhi’s citizens.
This is the time when women are looking towards the political parties, to see what place women’s rights and freedoms have on their agenda.
We are disturbed to see that while most parties pay lip service to the cause of women’s rights, they blithely field candidates accused of violence against women, and they play to the patriarchal gallery on a range of issues, ignoring the voices of the women’s movement.
We, the undersigned would like to put the following concerns on the agenda of the Delhi elections, and we ask the political parties contesting Delhi elections to respond to them with urgency and seriousness. We appeal to all women voters to place this charter before every candidate and every party campaigner, and ask them for a clear position on each of its points.
1. We are alarmed at the spiralling of communal violence towards the Delhi elections. We are shocked that, instead of nabbing those who are fuelling the violence in a planned way, the Delhi Police has instead beaten up and brutalised innocent women in Trilokpuri. Above all, we are appalled at the attempts to justify communal, caste, racial or homophobic/transphobic violence in the name of ‘protecting women’. We assert that women are invariably rendered most unsafe by such violence. We seek a commitment that no party will promote leaders – either as candidates or as campaigners – who are accused of stoking violence against women, as well as communal, caste, racial or homophobic/transphobic violence. Specifically, we do not want the notorious 1984 duo Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, we do not want to see Gugan Singh (who made communal speeches in Bawana) or Sunil Vaidya (who incited riots at Trilokpuri), or Somnath Bharti (charge-sheeted for racist and anti-women violence at Khirki) to be candidates or campaigners. Continue reading A Women’s Charter for Delhi Elections: Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression