Pune ZP uses quarantine threat to check domestic violence

Mumbai: A 35-year-old woman in Maharashtra's Pune district complained to a women's safety and vigilance committee about domestic abuse, following which her husband fled the house fearing that he may be quarantined.

After the enforcement of coronavirus-induced lockdown in March this year, the Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP) set up a number of women's safety and vigilance committees to check incidents of domestic violence.

As per the zilla parishad orders, men found guilty in such cases will be kept under institutional quarantine.

However, despite the orders, no one was quarantined, Pune Zilla Parishad's deputy chief executive officer Dattatraya Munde told PTI, adding that these committees have been helping in checking incidents of domestic violence.

"More than the punishment, the aim is to put fear of law in the minds of men. The intention is not to break families," he said.

He said the woman, who complained about physical abuse by her husband, and her three children are now safe.

Her husband shifted to his sister's house fearing he would be kept under institutional quarantine, he said.

Munde also said that another woman from Haveli taluka in Pune complained about her drunkard husband troubling her.

Members of the women's safety and vigilance committee, comprising gram sevak and police patil, later went to her house and counselled her husband.

"In rural areas, women themselves do not know what constitutes domestic violence," he pointed out.

Some 1,450 vigilance committees were formed at the village, taluka and district levels in Pune since the lockdown began, Munde said.

These panels comprise nearly 25,000 members, including women sarpanchs and office-bearers of various gram panchayats, ASHA (accredited social health activist) and anganwadi (state-run women and child care centres) workers.

They visit homes of the women who complain about domestic abuse, Munde said.

"The men also feel embarrassed if their family fights are discussed outside home," he said.

The committees were formed under the guidance of Pune Zilla Parishad CEO Ayush Prasad, and local women and child committee chairperson Pooja Parge, he added.

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