Sonia Rathore a student of forensics is currently pursuing her Masters. She is a firm supporter of “Gender Equality” and believes that everyone has their own sense of self-dignity that earns respect. She is an animal lover and has always excelled in academics and all other curricular activities. Born with a knack for writing and steered by the zeal of interest, this young blogger has a great craving for scribbling on pages and voicing it out wherever she feels is appropriate and required. Sonia believes that some day she would be able to change few norms of society and eradicate the social evils that are on the prowl, after all little efforts can bring a lot of changes!
Safety of Tribal Women – A National Challenge
Safety of tribal women has been one of the major issues in India. But how many of the Indians are truly concerned about them and how many officials have taken sufficient steps to improve their condition?
There are plenty of tribal groups that are found in various regions of India. Due to a lack of education, women are not aware of their rights and still continue to remain in their cocoon. Till date, it has been found that there are certain tribal communities who refuse to obey the Indian laws and prefer taking their own decisions. For instance : in an rape incident that occurred at Labhpur, Eastern Bengal – the 20 year old victim stated that she was raped by almost a dozen of men in her village as punishment for falling in love with a boy from other community which was unacceptable in her village. In another incident that took place at Ranchi on Dec 18, 2015 – a newly married 20 year old Santhali woman was gang-raped for 10 hours at Pakur village. These incidents are not only shocking but also a mirror to the growing insecurities of women population. Apart from this, the women of scheduled tribes in India have the lowest literacy rate which is yet another proof of gender inequality as ignorance. In fact the National Human Rights Commission had found 16 tribal women, who were assaulted and raped by the State police personnel of Chhattisgarh. It is very disheartening to see the police who are expected to help the public are the ones who are harming them the most. It’s astonishing to see the ‘protectors turning into prowlers.’
Some of the major reasons why tribal women are victimized:
- They find it difficult to lodge a FIR or police report because they are not aware of their own rights and are uneducated.
- Most of the tribal people prefer seeking help from panchayat or elderly people because they still obey their traditional beliefs.
Due to these reasons, tribal women are chosen as easy targets by molesters.
On Oct 10 2017, a tribal girl was raped by four uniformed men while returning to her village Musuliguda in Pottangi block of Koraput after registering her biometrics for Aadhaar card in Kundulihaata area when the incident happened.
The victim’s brother identified the criminals as paramilitary jawans who were actively involved in anti-Maoist operations. The dreadful fact is how freely these culprits are targeting innocent tribal women and yet all of these matters are hushed up without any further questions or protests.
However, these days the government is taking strict initiatives to protect tribal rights and spreading education among the tribal population so that they don’t serve as a prey for the wrongdoers. The authoritative bodies are trying to establish the educational system which would blend with their tribal communities, lifestyles and would create sense of responsibility among them.
Being the citizens of India, there are lot of ways through which we could still help the tribes.
Few initiatives that we could possibly take:
- By becoming a member of NGOs which are involved in tribal welfare.
- By being a active participant of the regular health camps organized for tribal communities.
- By educating the tribal women or using a medium to generate an awareness about their rights.
- By contributing funds.
- By enlightening public about the social stigma and current conditions of women through social platforms and seeking suggestions.
A little bit of effort could perhaps brighten and save the future of these tribal women and help them find their own place in this society.
The opinions expressed above are of the writer.