Days after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in a rape case, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recommending regular inspection of ashrams and religious centres housing women.
The DCW also recommended that all such ashrams should be registered with district authorities and a failure to ensure the same should attract strict penal action. In her letter to the prime minister, the DCW chief said, “The case (of Dera chief) may be reflective of a larger malaise and recommended that strict guidelines and laws be framed and implemented to check illegal activities (if any) in some religious institutions housing women across the country.” The recommendation has also come as other shelter homes such as old age homes, children homes are monitored by courts, commissions, welfare bodies and the government.
“It is the need of the hour that safeguards are put in place to ensure that women remain protected in such institutions. All admissions of minors to the religious centres should be monitored by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) concerned and it should be mandated that all minors are first interviewed and counselled by the CWC in order to ascertain their own consent and awareness for the decision,” recommended Maliwal’s letter.
Maliwal also stressed on putting up hoardings and boards displaying government emergency numbers and helpline numbers, particularly women and child help lines such as 181, inside ashrams and residential centres.