Demanding the need to urgently constitute a search and selection committee to scout new members and Chairperson for the State Women’s Commission, the Thma U Rangli-juki (TUR) has submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma stating that the Meghalaya State Women’s Commission (MSWC) has been dysfunctional since October 2020 since its term expired
In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma recently, TUR said, “We, therefore, urge you to prioritize the formation of a Search and Selection committee that will facilitate the formation of the new commission that will stand with the women of the state in their struggle to realize all their constitutional rights and be able to participate fully in the democratic and developmental life of the state.”
The organisation further asserted that this has affected women who have been seeking redress on issues of violence, abandonment, maintenance, etc, and denial of constitutional rights and for whom MSWC should have been readily accessible.
The organization also pointed out that Meghalaya is a state that boasts of a matrilineal setup but ironically has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the region, high maternal mortality rate as well as instances of teen pregnancies adding these point to the fact that much work is needed in safeguarding women’s rights including reproductive and sexual health and others.
“The institution of the MSWC is governed by one of the best laws in the country thanks to the constant struggle waged by the women’s movement in the state. This empowered MSWC is well placed in assisting the state to mitigate issues plaguing its women. But this is possible only if each time the commission is constituted it is done so in a transparent and democratic manner involving consultations especially among the women and women’s movement so that MSWC remains an independent and autonomous body,” it said.
TUR further reminded the government that after massive protests that followed the overnight conjuring up of the first women’s commission in the state through an ordinance, the subsequent commission was constituted by having a search and selection committee under the then Social Welfare Minister Nimarson Momin where women of the state could participate in the selection of the commission alongside other legislative representatives.
“This ensured a more representative commission that was able to function independently and effectively. We would like to place on record that this idea of legally institutionalizing a publicly accessible Search & Selection committee for constituting statutory commissions was an innovation from Meghalaya,” it stated.
A similar letter is also submitted to the leader of the opposition Dr. Mukul Sangma.