Even as the outrage over the murder of Mamita Meher by the President of the School Managing Committee where she was working, is getting amplified each passing day, all eyes are on the statutory bodies for women - the Commission for Women.
While the chairperson of the National Commission For Women, Rekha Sharma, taking the murder case suo moto, has asked for the removal of the ministers from the Naveen Patnaik cabinet, the Odisha State Women Commission emphasises only on awarding stringent punishment to the accused in police custody.
NCW Vs OSCW
Speaking to mediapersons after her visit to the victim's house, OSCW chairperson Minati Behera has said the following.
• Stringent punishment for the prime accused in police custody
• Rehab plan for the economically and mentally distressed family of the victim
• Fast-tracking of the Mamita Murder case
• Filing of the charge sheet in the case at the earliest.
• The real culprits should be punished.
Earlier, the NCW chairperson, Rekha Sharma, in her letter to Chief Minister, has raised the following points.
• Asked the CM Naveen Patnaik to personally take cognisance of the Mamita Murder case
• Remove accused ministers for a fair investigation, especially the allegation of sexual exploitation in the edu institution.
• Asked the DGP to provide security to victim family, complete investigation in a time-bound manner
A look at the statements made by both the chairpersons infer a big difference. While the NCW is for conducting an inquiry into the allegation of sexual exploitation in the institution and batted for removal of the ministers who purportedly had a cosy relationship with the key accused, the OSCW focus is limited to only on the Mamita murder case and its outcome.
NCPCR Vs OSCPCR
When on the allegations of sexual exploitation of minor girl students, the OSCPCR is yet to issue any statement. Today the NCPCR has sent a missive to Bolangir SP asking to send a full report after a proper inquiry into the matter within 5-days.
What Does The Women Commission Act say?
A look at the Women Commission statute 1990 reveals the following role of these statutory bodies. The commission has certain mandates and functions.
• Main mandate is safeguarding women rights
• Study the problems faced by women.
• Evaluating status of women in society.
• Counselling on family disputes etc
• Legal services include proposing amendments to bills and intervention to women in distress.
• Research on a wide range of gender subjects.
The Ground Reality In Odisha
Even as the Odisha police data and NCRB report show how a few districts in Odisha bear the lion's share of crimes against women, there has been no study, whatsoever, on the underlying causes by any of the statutory bodies in the State
As per police data, as many as 10-districts in the State report maximum cases of crime against women in the State. The districts identified are Balasore, Bhadrak, Bolangir, Kendrapada, Kalahandi, Puri, Nayagarh, Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar that report maximum sexual crimes in the States. And in the sensitive city list, the State capital Bhubaneswar topped the list.
But as of today, the State Women Commission has not commissioned any research study to find out the causes, the socio-economic milieu in the districts and preventive measures needed.
"The State Women Commission hasn't come up with specific studies in the State to curb the crime rate. Crimes against women could easily be nipped in the bud if the police take swift action on the first complaints by the victims. Their act of patronising powerful elements in the society bolsters the morale of law-breakers,” observed activist Tapasi Praharaj of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).