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Take steps to eradicate ‘Gaokor’ practice: NHRC to Maha govt

National Human Rights Commission

Gadchiroli:  Describing ‘Gaokor’ as a “serious violation of the human rights of women,” the National Human Rights Commission has directed Maharashtra government to take effective steps to eradicate the practice wherein women are forced to live at an isolated place during menstruation.

‘Gaokor’ is an isolated place away from village where women are forced to live during the period of menstruation.

A local social organisation ‘SPARSH’ had brought the practice to the notice of the NHRC and the government.

Taking serious note of the malpractice, the NHRC in its letter issued to the state government in July this year said, “The Commission treats it as a serious violation of human rights of the affected women of the community. It relates to their safety, hygiene and dignity.”

“The Commission directs that proper initiative be taken by the government of Maharashtra to eradicate the Gaokor custom,” it said.

The NHRC also said that it “further expects that the government should also consider that such type of activity be treated as a cognisable and punishable offence as Gaokor custom cannot be accepted at the present time in a civilised society and the women should not have to undergo such type of punishment for none of their fault.”

As per the Commission’s directives, a committee comprising sociologists, psychiatrists, gynaecologists and NGOs be constituted, awareness programmes should be organised to educate each and every family and every girl and woman should be examined medically.

The NHRC also directed that the women should be given training about reproductive system, their health and hygiene etc, so that misconceptions in the minds of tribals are removed. A special socio-medical cell be created in the local area for education, awareness and health care of the affected women, it said.

A team from Tribal Research Institute, Pune had earlier visited the district on the directives of the Chief Secretary and the tribal development department to inspect about the custom. The team had submitted its report to the government, but no action was taken to actually eradicate the evil practice.

SPARSH president Dr Dilip Barsagade said the government should take immediate steps to eradicate ‘Gaokor’ and save the tribal women from this heinous custom which makes the women live life of an untouchable and exposes them to threats regarding their security and health.

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