Maitree Protest Against Torture of Manjari Nayek

On 12th November, Maitree, the mainly Calcutta based women’s right network, organized a protest meeting at the Hazra Road crossing from 4-00 PM to 6-00 Pm. The occasion was the torture of Manjari Nayek.  
We publish below the leaflet issued by Maitree, with some initial comments by us.

12_November_Maitree_programme_001_copyBe Vocal Against the Torture of Underage Woman Domestic

Shree Prakash Misra is a high ranking officer of the Reserve Bank of India and his wife Madhuri Das is an NGO worker. This couple lives in the posh Alipur area and Manjari Nayek used to work in their house.
On last Friday, 6th November 09, Manjari Nayek saved her life by fleeing the house of Shree Prakash and Madhuri. Shree Prakash and Madhuri have inflicted brutal physical and mental torture on Manjari. Manjari has been operated upon and we do not know whether she will live.
Manjari’s age, as it seems, is at most 15/16. This underage girl, instead of going to school, was engaged as a domestic servant in the residence of an educated and moneyed couple. In this workplace, after being tortured by her employers, Manjari’s life is in danger today. But the repressive employers are out on bail.
This is no stray incident. Over the last few months such incidents have happened repeatedly. Among those indicted are government bureaucrats and police officers too. Our question is, who is responsible for the end to which girls like Manjari are driven? Why is the government not taking firm steps to establish the right to education of underage girls? Will the law banning child labour not be able to give security to children?


Our demands:
•    Punish Shree Prakash Misra and Madhuri Das. 12_November_Maitree_programme_004
•    Ensure proper treatment of Manjari Nayek.
•    The government must take responsibility for the education and rehabilitation of Manjari Nayek.
•    The government must take steps against child labour. It must ensure that children, whether boys or girls, can go to school.
12.11. 09     Maitree
While supporting these demands, we want to point out their inadequacy. Will parents hand over children to the state for education? Or will the state be asked to provide education for all?
What does education for all mean? We have “free” schooling –i.e., no tuition fee. But books, exercise books, all cost money. If schools do not have adequate infrastructure, as numerous schools indeed do not, then schooling inevitably means private tuition. To end this, there has to be a thorough revamping of the education system. In the same way, can we legislate a ban on child labour and expect it to be implemented? Will we ask the state to arrest the poor for sending their sons and daughters to work as workers in roadside tea stalls, in the homes of the well-to-do, or in other ways? Or do we campaign for jobs for all adults, so that those who are not yet adults can go to school instead of supplementing the family