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NCW for mindset change

Shillong, Nov. 16: The National Commission for Women (NCW) today stressed the need to alter people’s mindsets and increase access to education, especially for women, to counter the menace of human trafficking in the country.

“We need a change in mindset, and until that is done, I do not think we will be able to fight trafficking. Another issue is the lack of education,” NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma said on the sidelines of a regional conference on women’s empowerment here today.

According to her, trafficking was a phenomenon occurring in most parts of the country where scores of women were being trafficked across the international border with Nepal.

On dowry, Sharma said prevalence of the system was responsible for 80 per cent of the domestic violence cases in the country. “If there is no dowry, there will be no domestic violence. We are also counselling college and university students not to marry those who demand dowry.”

Sharma also pleaded for amendments to the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, to make it more powerful. “The NCW and also the state women’s commissions have recommendatory powers only. We do not have execution powers, and hence, we cannot work strongly. We, therefore, want the act to be amended and expert committees have been formed to suggest the amendments.”

She said political empowerment in the form of 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures was important, as without it, other forms of empowerment could not take place.

Regarding the death of an Indian woman in Ireland because of blood poisoning after doctors allegedly refused to terminate her 17-week-old pregnancy despite a miscarriage on the grounds that it was a “Catholic country”, Sharma demanded that the Centre should strongly take up the case with the Irish government.

Savita Halappanavar, 31, who was admitted to University Hospital Galway in west Ireland last month, died of septicaemia after doctors allegedly rejected her repeated pleas for termination of the 17-week-old miscarried foetus because it allegedly “still had a heartbeat”.

“Two deaths in one instant; what humanitarian grounds are they (Irish government) talking about? The Indian government should take strict action and I will also take up the matter with the external affairs ministry on Monday,” Sharma said.