State level Convention of Women Advocates AnanthKumar bats for equal opportunity for women in all professions BANGALORE: Stressing the need for bringing in women on an equal footing in all aspects of professional life Mr. H. N. Ananthkumar, MP, Bangalore South, today pointed out that women need to be empowered if one hopes for a truly progressive nation in the future. He was giving a speech to the Women Lawyers Conference in Shiksha Sadan Bangalore today. The speech started on a critical note as Shri AnanthKumar brought forth the 2011 survey done by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in which India was ranked the 4th most dangerous place in the world for women to live in. He said it is sadly ironic that such a stigma falls on a nation where women are raised as the divine representations of wealth, learning and strength as understood from the following slokas: Ya Devi sarva-bhuteshu, Vidya rupen sansthita, namastasye namastasye namastasye namo namah Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Shakti Roopen Sansthita, namastasye namastasye namastasye namo namah Even the nation itself is glorified in our national song as ‘Mother, I Salute to Thee’. But sadly under the tutelage of the present UPA administration instead of salutations this mother of ours has been savagely pillaged due to inadequate measures of the legal as well as internal affairs apparatus turning the nation’s capital into a capital of rapists. Mr. Ananthkumar then went on to present these depressing figures from the National Crime Records Bureau: •Number of Rape cases has gone up from 21,397 in 2009 to 24,923 in 2012. •Number of Kidnapping& Abduction cases has gone up from 25,741 in 2009 to 38,262 in 2012. •Number of Torture cases has gone up from 81,344 in 2009 to 106,527 in 2012. •Number of Molestation cases has gone up from 38,711 in 2009 to 45,351 in 2012. •Number of cases under the Dowry Prohibition Act. 1961 has gone up from 5,650 in 2009 to 9,038 in 2012. Even in a progressive city like Bangalore where women and men are almost equally employed in the professional sector a kind of fear persists in the mind of those women working till late hours about their safety. It is this kind of persistent fear and rampant patriarchy that holds the nation back from progressing. But Shri AnanthKumar stated that even among all these depressing tales of pillage and embarrassment there is still hope as stated in a recent multi-city survey done jointly by CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times which indicated Ahmedabad to be the safest city for women, with 88 percent thinking so. This is the example the NDA PM candidate Shri Narendra Modi puts forward and Shri AnanthKumar assured that if brought to power the Government will replicate Ahmedabad’s success nationwide. Unlike certain so-called statesman who pays mere lip service to the concept of women empowerment the BJP believes in providing on-ground actions for the same. Visible examples in the national scene would be the NDA leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Shrimati Sushma Swaraj and the National Spokesperson of the BJP Shrimati Meenakshi Lekhi. Shri AnanthKumar also took this opportunity to mention the range of schemes that the BJP had started in India to give power to women, including like ‘Kanya khelwani’ – education programme for girl child in Gujarat; ‘Bhagya Lakshmi’ and ‘Ladli Lakshmi’ – social and economic security schemes in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh; ‘Janani Suraksha Yojna’ and ‘Madilu’ in Karanataka and Madhya Pradesh and ‘Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojna’ in Rajasthan. Also mentioned was how from 2010 onwards Shri Modi has increased the number Nari Adalats across Gujarat. The concept of Nari Adalat was also expounded as follow: o Modeled on the Lok Adalat concept, Nari Adalats are block level self-governing tribunals of women for addressing their grievances. o These bodies are supported by Mahila Samakhyas of each district. o 42 of them have been sanctioned throughout the state with the oldest ones in Vadodara district which started in 1995. o Cases taken up by the Nari Adalat include denial of rights and opportunities, for example, related to property, maintenance, custody of children, and recognition of marriage. Shri.AnanthKumar reminded the 1200-strong audience that it was the Vajpayee government that re-introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill multiple times in 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003 but was deterred by the opposition to implement it. It is unfortunate that the present UPA government is delaying to pass the bill even when the BJP gave its support. Speaking from a personal perspective Mr.Ananthkumar stated his family is female-centric consisting of his wife and two daughters. This makes his wish to empower women that more indispensable. Shri AnanthKumar sketched out his own bold vision to ameliorate the woes of the nation’s female population besides bringing them to the forefront as they walk with their male compatriots towards the path of nation’s progress at an equal pace.