Corporator's sexist suggestion: 'After suicide, counsel all women in NMMC'
Standing committee chairman presented the proposal yesterday, following the alleged suicide by a woman corporator; no such plans for men
With the police terming the mysterious death of Nerul corporator Shashikala Maladi a suicide case, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) is now thinking of introducing counselling sessions — but only for women corporators.
Nerul corporator Shashikala Maladi is suspected to have committed suicide due to work pressure
When Standing Committee chairperson Netra Shirke put forward the proposal during the general body meeting yesterday, it was backed by corporators across parties and wards. However, no mention was made of a similar programme for the male members in the house.
With a total strength of 111, more than half of the house comprises women corporators. This, according to Shirke, is why it is especially important for the female members to receive extra support in the form of counselling and motivational sessions.
“An unfortunate incident like this cannot be ignored, as there are 63 women corporators in NMMC, most of whom are newcomers. A woman usually has lot of responsibilities in the family, and if she is a corporator, then she has to dedicate time for social wellbeing as well. Regular motivation and guidance will help women corporators to deal with the stress, she said.
‘Not the only factor’
When mid-day approached Manisha Bhoir, a corporator from Pawane MIDC near Koparkhairne, and asked about Maladi’s death and work pressure in the corporation, she said, “Work pressure is not the only factor. There is pressure at work, but it is not overwhelming. And, the amount of pressure is not the same for everyone.”
Nevertheless, she supported the move to introduce counselling as well, particularly for new entrants in the political field. “The training session will help newcomers to deal with political activities. It is a good initiative that needs to be implemented at the earliest.”
The idea also met approval from the Opposition. Leader of Opposition, Vijay Chaugule said, “Training and motivational sessions for women corporators is a welcome step as the loss of one of our political members is very unfortunate. The reason behind Maladi’s death is still a mystery and investigation should be done on a higher level.”
Suicide or murder?
43-year-old Shashikala Maladi had gone missing on September 23 but her body was identified over a week later, on October 2. It was only after her family filed a missing complaint on September 28 that the Nerul police checked with other police stations and learnt that a woman’s body had been found the same day Maladi went missing.
The body was found between Mankhurd and Govandi stations, after it had been run over by a train. While the police said preliminary investigations pointed towards it being a suicide, her family alleged murder. They admitted that Maladi had been worried about political issues, but said she was not the kind of person to take such a drastic step.