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Women barred from meeting

Agnes Kharshiing

Shillong, April 11: A village council in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district has been accused of debarring women from participating in its deliberations.

In a complaint lodged with the East Khasi Hills district administration, Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) president Agnes Kharshiing today stated that the women of Kynroh Nonglyer village under Sohiong syiemship were barred from taking part in the meeting of the village council held yesterday. The village sordar, Kwit Kyrsian, and its secretary, Faithstar Nongtri, had called the village council meeting yesterday, but the two men allegedly chased away the women and did not allow them to attend the meeting or the dorbar.

The incident came as a surprise as reports suggest that women from the village have been taking part in such meetings since March 1997.

“We have come to learn that in the meeting, the sordar and the secretary decided not to disburse any items under the public distribution system (PDS) to the women. This is a direct violation of their right to food, expression and equality as they have been barred from attending the meeting,” Kharshiing said in the complaint.

She also said women were debarred from taking part in the discussions, which had deliberated upon PDS, a centrally sponsored scheme.

“By debarring women from participating in yesterday’s meeting, it may deprive some of them of their right to food,” she added.

At the same time, Kharshiing urged deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal to initiate action against the village council according to the law to resolve the fair distribution of items under PDS in the village.

A similar complaint was also lodged before the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit. The organisation urged the council to take immediate action and to bring about a law, which would allow women to get a fair chance to participate in the discussions of the village councils.

Kharshiing also appealed to the KHADC chief to remove “errant and vindictive” traditional heads who do not deliver justice to women.


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