Imphal, 11 December:
A collective of 226 concern individuals, organization representatives, women, LGBT and men have put in their signature in a letter sent to the Chief Minister of Manipur seeking for a replacement of the present Chairperson of the Manipur State Commission for Women, Dr.M Binota Devi , today 11th December 2019. These signatures are collected with 2 days.
This outpour has come in the aftermath of a public statement given by the Chairperson to the media in the state recently. The chairperson had stated that the “morality” of women in Manipur have degraded and that she would like to see married, unmarried women and men to uphold the social norms and laws of the land. She went on to state that “women do not feel any moral scruples even if they have eloped two/three times and some of them have even adopted elopement as a means of earning big money”. That such immoral” women needed to be brought back to the “right path”.
The Chairperson’s irresponsible remarks and statement is unbecoming of the Chair that she currently holds. This is questionable and the esteemed institution that the current Chairperson is leading has been downgraded under such irresponsible leadership. It is unfortunate for the citizens of the state at large and the women in particular.
As such the signatories (appended below) are deeply concerned about the functioning of the State Women Commission. In a situation where the head of the institution has no qualms about raising the issue of “morality” according to her own standard, the public statement of the Chairperson of the Women Commission is extremely regressive.
While the State Commission for Women is mandated to defend Human Rights and work towards women empowerment, take up matters regarding rights violations, its Chairperson has done exactly the opposite. Rather than be a Commission that provides legal help and stand as a human rights defender for women, the Commission has turned into a ‘kangaroo court’. In its present state, the Commission for Women is not serving the section or community it is meant to serve.
The Letter to the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Government of Manipur is to seek a replacement for a better, more mature Chairperson with integrity, a person who is well aware, is informed and understand issues that affect the personal and political integrity of women.
( Letter and Signatories produced below)
Shri. N. Biren Singh
Hon’ble Chief Minister
Subject: Concern over functioning of Manipur State Commission for Women & Seeking of replacement of present Chairperson.
The citizens of Manipur at large, women in particular and the signatories appended below are extremely concerned over the present functioning of the State Commission for Women under the current leadership of its Chairperson.
We are shocked and disturbed over the recent statement made by the Commission’s Chairperson Smt. Dr. M.Binota on “morality, social norms, laws of the land”. You may refer to media reports of 3rd December 2019, wherein the Chairperson was quoted to have stated that the “morality” of women in Manipur have degraded and that she would like to see married, unmarried women and men to uphold the social norms and laws of the land. She had even went on to state that “women do not feel any moral scruples even if they have eloped two/three times and some of them have even adopted elopement as a means of earning big money”. Such a statement does not reflect the maturity that is required of a Chairperson of the Women Commission for it lays blame on young women in the state.
This sweeping statement not only shames young women but can instead lead to more victimization and exploitation of young women in the state with men being given a clear chit.
We respect and place the State Commission in high esteem. But the recent acts and statements by its current Chairperson is very unfortunate and not only brings down the status of the Commission but also has revealed its lack of integrity. This is unfortunate for the women folk of the state in particular and the general public at large.
The Women Commission as represented by its Chairperson has done exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do. Rather than be a Commission that provides legal help and stand as a human rights defender for women, the Commission had turned into a ‘kangaroo court’. In its present state, the Commission for Women is not serving the section or community it is meant to serve.
We wish and seek that State Women Commission work towards achieving it stated mandate (Section -10, National Commission for Women Act, 1990 Act no.20 pf 1990 of Govt of India).
We look forward to your intervention and ensure that the State Commission for Women function as per its stated mandate and work towards emancipation of women’s right.
Towards this, we sincerely request you to replace the current serving Chairperson with a more qualified person who is sensitive and politically aware about women issues. This need not be in terms of academic qualifications but a person who has the integrity, the understanding, the know-how; a person who is well versed, experienced and someone who can strengthen the Women Commission and not downgrade it.
We hope for your speedy action for the betterment of the women in the state of Manipur and the overall welfare of the general citizens of the state at large.