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Writer corners Chief Minister on women’s issues

Writer and activist K Neela stole the show at a panel discussion organised at the Ambedkar international conference in the city when she tried to box in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Published: 24th July 2017 09:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th July 2017 09:29 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Writer and activist K Neela stole the show at a panel discussion organised at the Ambedkar international conference in the city when she tried to box in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with a volley of questions on various issues.

Though she was the last speaker on the panel on Sunday, just before the valedictory function, she managed to draw the attention of everyone in the auditorium. She minced no words in seeking answers from the CM regarding issues that bothered the women in the state. Neela said it is rather sad that female foeticide continues to a be a problem in the state due to which there is drop in the sex ratio.

Being the only woman on the panel with seven male speakers, Neela pointed out that there was minimal representation of women at the conference.

She also sought to know why the government had not revealed details of the findings of a committee headed by MLA Jayamala on the lives of sex workers, sexual minorities and other issues.

Siddaramaiah responded that the government was in the process of compiling a report and it would soon be put on the public domain.

Talking about devadasis, she said, “The state gives `10,000 to `20,000 to them. If you can give these devadasis 3-5 acres of agriculture land, they will have a sustained living and help them live with dignity.”
Siddaramaiah, who consented that the devadasi tradition was still a pressing issue in Raichur and Koppal, said there was a need for improvements in this regard.

She also questioned as to why political parties were not being proactive in ensuring equal participation from women.

“We salute Ambedkar that there is 50 per cent reservation. Even though there are women in the field, they are not being allowed to work by the men in the families. The government has to have a will in having a policy that creates a conducive environment for women to work in taluk and zilla panchayat level,” she said.

Kalburgi Case

In a composed yet candid manner, Neela also sought to know why there was no progress in the M M Kalburgi murder case. “Why has the case not been solved yet?” she questioned.
Though Siddaramaiah answered her questions, the audience had to persist to get an answer from him regarding the case. Delegates too demanded to know the progress in this case soon after Neela raised the issue. Siddaramaiah said the case was with CID and the probe was on.
When Neela was done, moderator Rajendra Chenni remarked, “This is why a woman was asked to speak in the end.” 

Some chaos

There was chaos even before the panel discussion commenced. Police had stopped those with passes from entering the venue citing security reasons. This led to arguments at the entrance of the auditorium. After the panel discussion, the delegates were agitated as they were not given a chance to speak.


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