Monday, February 23, 2009

Unwed mothers: Rights panel seeks ATR from Mah govt-Hindustantimes

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, February 23, 2009
The state human rights commission has asked Maharashtra government to submit action taken report (ATR) over the unwed tribal mothers in Vidarbha region.

Responding to a writ petition, filed by Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, the commission asked the government to spell out the rehabilitation measures it took to help the victims. Samiti's convenor Kishore Tiwari expressed concern over the rise of unwed mothers in tribal areas in the region, particularly in Yavatmal district, and requested the rights panel to direct the state to provide shelter and livelihood for a better life to such unwed mothers and their children.

Tiwari drew the rights panel attention of the over the rising trend of unwed mothers in the region and alleged that the police and administration were protecting the accused responsible for such heinous act. "In most cases, the prime accused hail from influential family with political connection. These people are sexually exploiting poor tribal girls," he alleged.

The petitioner demanded the integrated rehabilitation programme of all unwed mothers by providing them regular financial aid and restoration land rights and rights in property of the accused fathers of kids of these unwed mothers. "The government should also provide free education of these kids, along with all facilities, including better healthcare and food security," he said.

The cases of unwed mothers in tribal areas were first reported in 2005. Five tribal unwed mothers of Sushri, Matherjune, Kundi and Kelapur villages in Yavatmal district gave birth babies during the period. The VJAS later filed a petition before the state human rights commission and insisted helps for them.

The Samiti claimed that as per recent survey of district administration in Yavatmal, the cases of unwed tribal mothers have been increased phenomenally. Now such cases were reported over 300 in Yavatmal district alone while as many as 52 cases were reported in Jhari Tahsil. "It has now become a great concern for the society," says Tiwari.

The rights panel has fixed the next hearing on the issue on March 3.

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