RAIPUR: In a bid to help women during menstruation, a regional conglomeration of various groups -- ‘The New Peace Process’ in Chhattisgarh has decided to offer reusable sanitary napkins and menstrual cups as ‘Diwali Gift to the women cadres engaged with the Maoist struggle.
It is believed that around 40-50 per cent of the strength in the outlawed CPI (Maoist) comprises of women, who are seen as the backbone of the left-wing extremism in Bastar zone, south Chhattisgarh.
However owing to persisting strife in the conflict zone, these women rebels encounter increasingly difficult moment facing period-related issues as they venture deep inside the jungle.
As per the initial estimate around 1500 Maoist women are likely to be given the gift kit consisting of two reusable cloth pads and one menstrual cup. However, the quantity will depend upon the collections through raising funds and garnering support from the products producing companies.
“Some voluntary organisations and the supporters of our initiative are also willing to contribute. We will try to reach out to the maximum Adivasi Bastar women, who roam inside the forest for the most part of their day and engaged in the battle”, said Shubhranshu Chowdhary the convenor of New Peace Process campaign in Bastar zone.
“It may turn as an effective move to win the trust of the rebel women by treating them as sisters and expressing care for them during the festive occasion by offering them such meaningful gifts. And could be a beginning to explore discussions on peace with the womenfolk in the region. Once the negotiation begins, the prevailing differences can be dealt with. The Maoist women actually are the thinking subjects in their organisation, we need to make them understand that violence doesn’t have a future," he said.
As expected, the Bastar police were initially reluctant to agree with such initiative. “Female cadres are very active in Maoist organisation, fighting against the state and involved in violent activities. So we have neither approved nor disapproved the gift plan since the preliminary intention seems good but there will be a periodical assessment of the move,” averred Sunderraj P, inspector general of police (Bastar zone), amid the prevailing differences of opinion with the activists.
The process of giving away the gifts will begin this month and will continue till Makar Sankranti next year mid-January. The activists believed that once these women convince their male counterparts, the process on engaging with the peace process may become possible.
There will be no involvement of the state administration or the police. The reusable cloth pads to be distributed can be washed and reused. Menstrual cups are safe to use for as long as 10 years and such cups made of silicone can get decomposed relatively easier.