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Nagaland

Gender equality linked to paradigm shift in mindsets

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By EMN Updated: Aug 24, 2013 1:13 am
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Staff Reporter
DIMAPUR, AUGUST 23

Only when the “basic human rights” of Naga women gets due acknowledgment from the “family, clan, village and the overall societal framework”, can we say that the process of gender sensitization has been truly started in Nagaland.
This message was underscored by, perhaps the most respected among Naga writers, and current chairperson of Nagaland State Commission for Women, Dr Temsula Ao here today at a seminar on gender sensitization among police personnel, judiciary and civil society members at the Police Complex in Chumukedima . “Time and again we hear of incidents where justice is denied to women on account of cultural and traditional norms prevalent in our society which often impinge on women’s right, for being of different gender,” she shared.
Dr Temsula pointed out that “the vital question of women’s identity” inevitably fluctuates according to her marital status while under similar circumstances the status and identity of a male remains constant and unchanged.
“This is the fundamental issue and must be addressed by our Women Hoho in a positive manner, so that the identity of women at the very existential level is articulated and protected. Only then we can say that the process of gender sensitization has begun,” Temsula reminded.
Against this backdrop, she said that it was “imperative” that awareness on gender issues be spread among those “agencies directly empowered to enforce” the same. “This one-day seminar is only a reminder for all of us, and is in no way adequate to create this awareness because it involves an attitudinal change in perception and understanding, especially for men, in a society as ours that is patriarchic to the core,” she said.
The venerable professor assured that the NSWC was sincere in its attempt to set up a “meaningful network of trust and understanding among ourselves for working together whereby we can safeguard the right and interests of women, which in turn will result in just and safe civil society for all.”
Further expressing concern over the rising incidents of crime ageist women in Nagaland, Dr Temsula urged the state government to reinstate the fast track courts “which was discontinued in 2012, mainly for financial reason as because the Centre has now pledged to meet 80% of the cost of setting up the Courts and appointing judges.”
These courts, besides the delivery of punitive justice, should also oversee that the victims or “survivors” of gender crimes are also provided with restorative justice. “The government is therefore required to notify hospitals in all districts where victims of violence, rape and assault can get medical treatment free of cost. Also a scheme under restorative justice for giving cash relief to victims must also be set up by the government.”
Another burning need of the hour is the shelter home where such victims can get temporary shelter in order to deal with the trauma, away form the scene of violence, she suggested.
“Women rescued from flesh trade or destitute women who have no where else to go, apart from counseling, they can be taught simple skills to earn livelihoods and fend for themselves. Relevant department can play a major role by setting up one shelter home in every district,” she added.
Temsula further appealed for support, guidance and active operation from the civil societies, in particular women organizations. “And let us remember that only through our concerted effort can we build a society where women are given due rights and recognition as the viable half of the human species. Only in such society women will be safe in body, mind and soul. And only then can we say we have evolved into a civilized society where all citizens, men and women, can live with mutual respect for each other,” she maintained.

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By EMN Updated: Aug 24, 2013 1:13:03 am