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Arvind Kejriwal says 'I commit' to 'National Womanifesto', a plan to protect the freedom and safety of women


Updated: March 6, 2014, 2:45 PM IST
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Arvind Kejriwal says 'I commit' to 'National Womanifesto', a plan to protect the freedom and safety of women
Arvind Kejriwal has endorsed the National Womanifesto to be put up by an NGO listing points critical to protecting the rights of women and children.

Arvind Kejriwal has endorsed a document, the National Womanifesto, that is being finalised by an NGO listing points critical to protecting the rights and freedom of women and children. Lawyer and activist Karuna Nundy recently asked the former Delhi Chief Minister if he committed to the 'National Womanifesto' and Kejriwal replied in the affirmative.

Since the horrific gang rape of a young girl on a bus in the national capital, women's rights activists have been campaigning for safety of women and children and stringent laws for offenders. Nundy, who is an advocate in the Supreme Court of India and a legal policy adviser for governments, asked Kejriwal how he planned to tackle violent crimes against women if he came to power after the Lok Sabha elections.

To the question 'do you commit to the six priority points' Kejriwal who was talking at a Facebook Talks Live said "I fully commit to that." The NGO Avaaz said a similar document, the Delhi Womanifesto, has even been endorsed by Delhi's former CM Sheila Dikshit and is now pressuring other parties to follow suit.

While Avaaz hasn't yet made public the National Womanifesto, the six points listed in the Delhi chapter are: (quoted verbatim from the document)

1. Educate everyone: We will develop and begin to deliver comprehensive, well-funded and long-term public education programmes to end the culture of gender based violence including: curricula for each level in schools and universities, teacher training programmes; SMS, radio and TV public service campaigns to challenge the mindsets behind violence against women; curricula in medical schools and law schools, and modules for professional training.

2. Make laws count: We will work to ensure each government agency produces a detailed action plan to implement the laws to end violence against women and foster their enforcement. This will include infrastructure, personnel, training and will specify the funds allotted for each intervention. We will also adopt a Code of Conduct to end misogynist language in the Vidhan Sabha.

3. Responsive police: We will work with the Central Government to establish and enforce a public protocol for police response to crimes against women. We will change service rules to recruit, promote and penalise based on gender attitudes and performance; recruit more police officers to more effectively patrol and protect (particularly women); and establish rape crisis response teams. Police personnel who breach the new procedures will be investigated and removed.

4. Faster, competent courts: We will establish more fast track courts for crimes of violence against women, increase the number of judges to 30 per 100,000 population and increase the related staff and infrastructure. We will work with the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court to seek reform of court procedures to address victims' needs.

5. Support to survivors: We will adequately fund and set up one-stop 24 hour crisis centres in hospitals in each police district, to provide comprehensive services to women who are victims of violent crimes. Services will include police liaison, medical, legal and counselling services, links to voluntary shelters and compensation. One stop crisis centres will improve and merge current rape crisis cells and crisis intervention centres where appropriate.

6. Safe streets, safe city: We will ensure Delhi is safe to move around, day and night. We will include women's safety guidelines in the City Development plan, Master Plans and Local Area plans, and conduct safety audits. We will set up accessible night shelters, creches, and women's toilets, especially in the poorest areas. We will expand the DTC bus fleet to 25,000; run safe transit workshops with drivers' associations and unions; increase metro and bus security services; and extend the Delhi metro's hours of operation.

Avaaz was launched in 2007 with the goal to empower millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.

First Published: March 6, 2014, 2:45 PM IST
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