We fail to understand what the National Commission for Women does, apart from issuing statements that border on the ridiculous. Take what chairperson Mamta Sharma said a day ago — that women should be comfortable and careful about how they dress.
This came in the wake of the shocking incident in Guwahati, where a teenager was molested by a mob in public. Repeating what a number of so-called moral policemen have been saying for a while now, Sharma pointed out that ‘aping the West blindly’ was ‘eroding our culture and causing such crimes to happen.’ A couple of months ago, Sharma had sparked a row after saying the word ‘sexy’ should not be taken in a negative context. Her bizarre explanation was that ‘sexy’ meant beautiful and charming. She also exhorted the rest of us to not see it in ‘a negative sense.’
A couple of days ago, another NCW member, Alka Lamba, was removed from the fact-finding committee probing the Guwahati molestation case for naming the victim during a press conference.
What makes these instances more disturbing than they are is the fact that they spring from an organisation that was set up as statutory body in January 1992 to safeguard the rights of women in India. It’s official mandate is to ‘review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women, recommend remedial legislative measures, facilitate redressal of grievances and advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.’
Keeping this task in mind, it is shocking that some of its spokespersons should make statements so radically at odds with what their organisation is supposed to promote. Sharma’s recent statements almost make it sound as if NCW members are the enemies of other women. They certainly don’t come across as protectors. Should they be allowed to continue? We don’t think so.