The Telegraph
Sunday , January 12 , 2014
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Eye on women’s safety

Imphal, Jan. 11: A team from the National Commission for Women today interacted with women leaders of Moreh to get a first-hand knowledge of their problems in the border trade town, 109km from here.

The team, headed by chairperson Mamta Sharma, is camping in Imphal since Thursday to prepare the ground for setting up a Northeast cell of the commission to deal exclusively with women’s issues in the region. The team will visit Sajiwa jail at Khabeisoi in Imphal East tomorrow to learn about the condition of women prisoners.

“The team, accompanied by members of Manipur State Women’s Commission, listened to the grievances of women at Moreh. The meeting was fruitful. Women leaders of all communities took part in the interaction,” an official of the state commission said.

After the interactive sessions, Sharma said though women in Manipur were considered more empowered, they continue to suffer from violence and denial of their rights.

NGOs working on women’s issues said the status of women in Manipur was better but crimes against women were a matter of serious concern. “The increasing rate of crimes against women in the state is alarming. Three women and one girl have been killed since January 1 this year. We would like to urge the commission to carry out an in-depth study of the women’s situation in Manipur,” Sobita Mangshatabam, secretary of Women Action for Development, an NGO working on women’s issues, said.

Welcoming the proposal to set up a Northeast cell for women, she said such a facility should be fully equipped and work with active coordination with the women’s commissions of the region.

Mangshatabam said she was surprised that her NGO was not informed of the visit and invited for the interactive sessions. “Yesterday I was informed of the team’s visit by a street vendor,” she said.

Women Action for Development is one of the most active women’s organisations in Manipur working for the cause of the women and the girl child. The team on the first day had interacted with chairpersons of the women’s commissions of the region and met women vendors of three women-only markets in Imphal yesterday. The team also met state government officials yesterday to learn about measures taken by the government to deal with crimes against women and women’s safety.

The team will leave for Delhi tomorrow after the jail visit.