Across parties, MPs find a women?s cause to bond
Indian Express, December 17, 2015
Barely a kilometre
from Parliament, the stage for so much acrimony between ruling
and Opposition members, over a dozen MPs from across parties
assembled Wednesday for a common cause ? to fight for women?s
rights, safety and equality.
They got together on
a platform set up by BJP MP Anurag Thakur and talked about how
their constituencies could use his initiative, Honour Our Women
(HOW) Foundation. Working since 2014, the foundation has taken
up a new initiative, HOW MP Connect.
?Post December 16,
2012, Parliament has passed stringent laws but strict laws will
have a impact only we implement them effectively,? Thakur said.
?What are the things
we have to do?? said the NCP?s Supriya Sule. Anupriya Patel of
the Apna Dal put in, ?What needs to change is mindset. What can
be done for that?? The Trinamool Congress?s Satabdi Roy was
upset about society?s attitude to women while Heena Gavit,
first-time BJP MP, wanted to discuss steps to restrict girl
child mortality in her constituency, Nandurbar.
Party?s Neeraj Shekhar and the BJP?s Sanjay Jaiswal agreed MPs
have to work towards changing people?s mindset on issues
relating to women. Actor-turned-MP Paresh Rawal had a
suggestion: ?We should engage godmen and sages for advocacy and
awareness, because they have a number of followers. Jis desh
mein Sita ko shakti aata hain, yeh zaroori hain.?
Support for the
cause came also from the Congress?s Rajeev Shukla and Gaurav
Gogoi, the LJP?s Chirag Paswan, and Thagur?s party colleagues
such as Dushyant Singh, Poonam Madam, Shivkumar Chanabasappa
Udasi, Shobha Karandlaje and Jagadambika Pal.
Thakur found their
enthusiasm matching that of the young people to whom he had
first introduced the idea. ?That excitement of the youth in
working for a cause aimed at changing the mindset of people
inspired me,? Thakur told The Indian Express. ?I want the youth
to get involved in making a crime-free society for women. I want
MPs to rise above party lines and work for causes like
eradication of malnutrition.?
The young people
with HOW will now work together with the MPs in striving to
provide women a platform. It works like this: each MP suggests
two volunteers from every assembly constituency within his/her
constituency as contact persons for HOW. Through them, HOW
conducts self-defence classes, seminars on health, social
inclusion, legal advice and economic independence, and holds
street plays, exhibitions and debates. ?Each MP has to give us
just half an hour a month and discuss the activities in schools
and colleges in their constituencies,? said Thakur.
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