Lucknow: Women activists of the Congress party here were caned by the police Tuesday as they sought to raise the issue of "increasing atrocities on women" in Uttar Pradesh, party workers said.
State party president Rita Bahuguna Joshi and All India Congress Committee secretary Pervez Hashmi, who is in charge of the party`s affairs in Uttar Pradesh, were among those who suffered serious injuries. Hashmi was hospitalised with a fractured lower limb, while Joshi received cane blows on her arm, a party worker said.
Agitated Congress leaders are now demanding the "dismissal" of Chief Minister Mayawati`s government.
Led by Joshi and Hashmi, women activists of the Congress earlier sought an appointment with Mayawati so that they could draw her attention to rising atrocities against women in the state. With Mayawati denying them an audience, they chose to march down to Raj Bhavan to hand over a memorandum to Governor B.L. Joshi.
But they were stopped on the way, given a thrashing and were eventually arrested.
Several Congress legislators also joined in to express their solidarity with the agitating women.
"We simply wanted to draw the government`s attention to the report of the National Commission for Women, according to which 55 percent of the reports about atrocities on women between 2006 and 2009 were received from Uttar Pradesh alone," Rita Bahuguna Joshi told mediapersons.
The atrocities were highlighted in an eight-page memorandum the women had sought to give to the governor.
According to the NCW`s report, Uttar Pradesh recorded as many as 1,382 cases of rape in 2006, which went up to 1,637 in 2007 and then to 1,864 in 2008. During the first six months of 2009, the figure has touched 979, which clearly reflected a sharply rising trend over the past two years.
This was besides the cases of `outraging the modesty` of women, which rose over the same period from 2,182 in 2006 to 2,674 in 2007 and further up to 2,812 in 2008. Likewise, cases of molestation rose from 2,761 to 2,962 to 3,342 over these successive years.
What was even worse was that as many as 1,308 dowry deaths were recorded during January-June 2009.
The memorandum demanded publication of a white paper on `atrocities on women` during the two-and-half years of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) rule in the state.
They also demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the gang-rape of a Kanpur girl (name withheld).
"Even though the issue had been raised in the national parliament and national Congress women`s wing chief Prabha Thakur had personally visited Kanpur to seek action against the vandals, the administration has not cared to even nab the culprits simply because they were associated with the ruling BSP," the memorandum said.