Read How Women Like Renuka Pamecha, Head ‘Maheela Salah Aur Suraksha Kendra’, Protect Jaipur Women
- IWB Post
- August 14, 2015
This Political Science teacher is not just a teacher. When she is not sitting with her students, she deals with the criminals of sexual harassment and dowry cases.
Renuka Pamecha is a Jaipur-based woman who holds a 45 yr old experience in the latter field. Currently, she is the head of ‘Maheela Salah Aur Suraksha Kendra which is located in the premises of the Women Police Station, Gandhinagar. The center helps women in distress. In the past, Renuka has acted as the head of ‘Mahila Purnarwas Samuh Samiti’ – a rehabilitation center for women; and also ‘Vividha’.
“It’s since 1975 that I have been working with the police on women-violence issues.”
Gandhinagar’s women police station is the first of its kind in the state. It was established in 1989. Now we’ve got many such stations across Rajasthan, including 4 in Jaipur.
Only in 2001, ‘Maheela Salah Aur Suraksha Kendra’ was established allowing counselors to sit independently in the station to be able to immediately help the women coming to seek help, like finding a shelter or receiving help in case of some assault. These centers have coordination with doctors, health centers, home centers, etc meant for only women.
Renuka joined the general women movement in 1973 and has been the reason behind the amendment of many women related laws since then. To name few – Dowry Prohibition Act, Sati Prevention Act, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace, etc.
She remarks, “One of our friends, Roop Kanwar, was burnt alive because her husband had passed away. Her in-laws practiced and believed in the old ‘sati’ system. She was just 18 yrs old when she died. 500 women protested and forced the police & court to not let this case go just like that.”
In 1973, she along with her group established the ‘Nari Chetna Sangathan’. She is also the co-founder of RUWA – Rajasthan University Women Association. In 1987, her team came up with the establishment of ‘Shakti Stambh’, a short stay home for women in distress situated in Jawahar nagar, near Raja Park.
She tells, “These years have been crucial for all of us. In 1992, we even started with our grass root work in rural areas of Rajasthan, and went on to meet village-women to spread awareness about many women-related issues.”
This long journey wasn’t easy at all. She remembers that horrific night when one ‘saathin’ – the name given to the volunteering women in rural areas – was gang raped because she tried to stop a child marriage. “We immediately lodged a case against those men, the fight was tough”, tells Renuka.
Renuka has also been a part of the movement that initiated PIL in the Supreme Court asking Indian law committee to form a law dealing with ‘sexual harassment at workplace’.
What an incredible woman!! As told by her team, her home is filled with thousands of copies of legal documents. Even the dining table has files and law books spread over it.
Talking more about the ‘Maheela Salah Aur Suraksha Kendra’, she tells, “Under such centers situated at women police stations, we discuss the changes that can be introduced in our laws, train women to be strong, and collectively take charge of certain geographical areas to make sure no woman is left suffering in the hands of mistreatment.”
Talking in detail about training rural women, she describes, “We have newspapers meant for women that are published monthly. They are ‘Humari Awaz’ and ‘Ujala’, with a yearly subscription of mere Rs. 50. The newspapers have inspiring stories of women, articles on development in the fields of education, etc, and also about tribes situated nearby…since they are one of the most ignored sections of our society.”
Friends, do you know about the Rural Correspondent Training Courses? It is again an initiative (by Renuka and women like her) wherein the rural people are trained to become able journalists who later are encouraged to search for stories and report them in one of these newspapers. What an amazing way to fight unemployment!
Renuka also spoke about the team’s regular visits to corporate offices in order to make employees aware of their basic rights in sexual harassment cases, etc.
To stay up-to-date and active, women-cells across Jaipur meet with the city police every 3rd Wednesday of the month, 3 p.m. sharp at the Yaadgar Police station. “Public is free to join us during the discussion. Anyone can put forward suggestions for the betterment of our working style”, tells Renuka.
Women like Renuka are surely a ray of hope for those who lack courage and support during hard times. God bless them.