12, Mar 2019 | DNA Correspondent
Citizens of Justice and Peace (CJP), a human rights platform, held a public meeting ‘Qaid Ke Pare’ on Monday to understand ways of addressing issues faced by women prisoners. The public meeting which took place at the Marathi Patrakar Sangh involved testimonies of a range of women — from those who have served jail term for seeking forest rights to those who have been in detention camps in Assam.
Rashminara Begum was one of the participants. Daughter of a freedom fighter, she was in a detention camp because she failed to fulfil the age criterion needed to be eligible for Indian citizenship. “I was marked a D-voter and put in a detention camp. I was three months pregnant,” said Rashminara with tears in her eyes.
In Rashminara’s case, her husband was considered to be an Indian citizen. “That is how it is. After the decided date, even if the husband is Indian and the woman is not, the child too is not considered Indian,” said Zamsher Ali, who had helped her. Ali said that the issue has been troubling a lot of people as their rights were being rejected due to spelling mistakes in some or the other card.
While Rashminara’s case was of citizenship, in case of Kismatiya Gond from Sonbhadra, in UP, she was thrown in jail after seeking rights on forest land. “The facilities in jail are bad. There are no women cops to take us in. The jails are overcrowded, food quality is bad. A number of women are in jail even when they have served half their prison term, later given to them, when trial has not even begun.” Some women, who have given birth in toilets, said that hospital facilities should be closer to the place where they are kept and families should be allowed to meet them.
“We are looking to have more of these public hearings. General issues will also come up. We will compile these as a set of recommendations and take them to statutory authorities or to the petition judiciary. Pregnant women cannot be in jail and the condition of women in jail needs to improve,” said Teesta Setalvad from CJP.
The original article may be read here.