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About the Assam State Commission for Women

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We live in a society that refers to women as the ‘weaker’ sex. Labour, emotions, language and the body associated with women are considered not worthy of being acknowledged, that is inherently low-brow and unreliable. This unworthiness has been derived from the social position that women have been ascribed to by the patriarchs. A patriarchical society ensures a perpetual subordination of women by a division between the sexes and this division is hierarchical in nature allowing men uninterrupted social, political and economic power. This hierarchical division also initiates a division of labour and the separation of the exoteric and privy domains. The public becomes essentially male and the privy becomes the women’s space. Such a division of labour keeps women perpetually dependent on their men for a livelihood ultimately leading to abuse of power, control and surveillance in the part of men and a lack of agency, choice and free will in women. In more than 50 percent of the cases in Assam State Commission for Women that I had the opportunity to cover, the complainant was economically dependent on their husbands. Such dependence not only limits a women’s growth socially, politically and economically, it also contributes to an over augmenting disparity between the genders. Gender disparity comes along with strict norms of morality that women are expected to follow.

Adherence to these societal norms of morality makes them the ideal candidate for marriage. These norms include partial socialization of women with a conscious effort to mingle not too much with people of the opposite gender, a character card that controls a women’s choices and the myth of virginity which stems from the idea that a women’s body necessarily belongs to her husband. A women who dares not to follow such moral standards is often shamed by the society. Patriarchy makes a dichotomy of women either as the angel in the house or the mad women in the attic. The good woman is the one who adheres to the patriarchal notions of an ideal womanhood : soft, docile, efficient in domestic chores, a virgin. The madwoman would be the rest of us, the rebels, the witches and every other other women who rejects a man’s idea of the perfect woman. In contemporary Assamese society, the standard of morality that even a teenage girl is expected to follow is high. With non-existent sex and safety programmes in schools, a girl learns to be ashamed of her own body and the language surrounding it. She is shamed into silence by adults and it is only through certain peer groups which too is not free of judgement because of the internalizing of the standards of morality.

The foundation of the National Commission at the national level and the Commissions of the states at the State level for women, with the goal of shielding ladies from viciousness, monstrosities or brutal or unfeeling treatment by and large is a standout amongst the most imperative ventures of the Indian government and of the State G0vernments. State Commissions for w0man have been enriched with the forces to ensure and advance ladies’ rights all through the State and particularly in circumstances where ladies are in require of assistance of these Commissions. In Northeast India the state of ladies’ rights is in the condition of consistent infringement because of the current clash of circumstance separated from the presence of the oppressive social traditions and practices. Thus, the examination of the part of State Commissions for Women in Northeast India is exceptionally noteworthy as these are administrative bodies to secure and advance the privileges of ladies in their particular States.

I worked as an intern in Assam State Commission for Women, as a part of five weeks summer internship. Being a student of M.A. Political Science, I was always interested in the field of women’s rights. Thus I applies for an internship in the Assam State Commission for Women. I send an e-mail along with all the relevant documents to the concerned authorities. My internship started on the 21st of May 2018.

On the first day, I reported to Smt. Chikimiki Talukdar, the Chairperson of the commission for the briefing purpose. I was then asked to review the previous cases and write the summary and get an idea of how the Commission works. I was also asked to prepare a list of all the complaints which the complainants registered. I also had the work of co-ordinating and attending various programmes undertaken by the Commission. Apart from this, I had to write a research paper titled : Violence against women as a human rights issue.

The most far reaching type of infringement of human rights is the issue of viciousness against ladies. Such type of viciousness may incorporate aggressive behavior at home, lewd behavior, assault, constrained prostitution, kill. It is so profoundly established in our custom that numerous ladies look at savagery as a piece of their life now. Numerous ladies encounter brutality in their home itself. From what has been seen, one might say that the greater part of the lewd behavior casualties are young ladies in the middle of the age gathering of 15 to 20 years. Likewise, it has been seen that there is a more prominent level of unevenness in the sex proportion because of female child murder which is at last because of child inclinations. Death of ladies because of dowry related cases is so far reaching in India that exploration demonstrates that there are about 5000 passings every year because of the issue of settlement.

Case studies

I will now refer to various cases I have come across in the Commission which gives us an idea of how the women suffers.

CASE 1: ASCW 52/2016

Complainant : Remya Parameshwar Iyer

Opposite party : Parameshwar Iyer

Filed on : 9/05/2016

The complainant was married to P. Iyer who is a Professor at the Department of Chemistry, IIT Ghy. There was a constant mental and emotional harassment during the tenure of the marriage of the complainant. The opposite party was also under constant suspicion of loyalty and could not give her enough time and affection. She was in shock, as she also received a filed petition for divorce citing several allegations.

CASE 2 : ASCW 174/2014

Complainant : Purabi Roy

Opposite party : Narin Ch. Medhi

Filed on : 1/08/2014

The opposite party made false promises that he will marry her and got engaged into sexual intercourse despite the number of times the complainant said NO. As a result she got pregnant. Thus she eloped with the opposite party but after some days, the opposite party denied to take the responsibility. The opposite party’s family threw her out of the house. She was not even given the basic food, shelter and any other sort of maintenance.

CASE 3 : ASCW 133/2013

Complainant : Namita Barman

Opposite party : Bhabesh Sharma

Filed on : 10/06/2013

The complainant has been harassed physically and has also been exposed to marital rape and lack of financial help. Such violence was suffered by their girl child also. Even after they separated and shifted to a rented house, the violence did not end. He started abusing her verbally and also started spreading rumors about her and blackmailed her.

CASE 4 : ASCW 123/2015

Complainant : Arati Das

Opposite party : Mr. Maya Das

Filed on : 13/07/2015

The opposite party have obstructed the complainant from using even the basic amenities like water, electricity and even the main house of the house. They have also destroyed the complainant’s toilet and didn’t allow her to use their toilet. By doing all these, the opposite party was compelling her to leave their house so that they can take hold of the entire joint property purchased by her husband and his late brother. Also the papers of the joint property are with the opposite parties.

CASE 5 : ASCW 223/2015

Complainant : Pinki Rabha

Opposite party : Nabakanta Deka

Filed on : 23/12/2015

The complainant has been harassed physically and mentally everyday because she was unable to meet the dowry demands. The husband was a mere spectator during all these incidents who was of the view that if she met all the demands of the family, then the harassment would come to an end. The family also threatened her. She was also denied food and water and even thrown out of her marital home.

CASE 6 : ASCW 70/2017

Complainant : Mrs Neelakshi Bhuyan

Opposite party : Sri Santanu Kumar Baruah

Filed on : 20/05/2017

She was a victim of sexual harassment at her workplace. The opposite party asked her for sexual favors. He also insisted her to see pornographic sites. He also made her life difficult to stay in the quarter she was allotted by the office. He also threatened her to dismiss her from the job.

Women has always been considered as ‘weak’ and ‘oppressed’ section for a long period now. This is the sole reason why the violence against them prevails. The state of Assam is no different. Although, it has been seen that the women in the north-eastern part of India are much more developed, yet the violence prevails. The solution to tackle such violence cannot be taken merely by the Commissions and law every time. In viable sense, such avoidance of viciousness begins from the home itself. It ought to be guaranteed for young ladies and young men to get childhood and training which neither support conventional society and social examples about the part of young ladies and young men, nor cultivate bias or generalizations about every sex.

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