Nagpur: Commerical sex workers at Ganga Jamuna red light areas have been raising the issue of police atrocities against them for quite a long time. Now it appears that enough is enough. The women have decided to file a contempt petition against the city police with the high court on Wednesday. They plan to challenge last week’s sweeping action, where 91 women and 45 customers were booked under various sections of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986. Though the cops let off pregnant and breast-feeding women, the sex workers are calling the action a violation of last year’s high court order asking police not to act in an atrocious manner in dealing with them.
ACP Reena Janbandhu had also cracked down on local shopkeepers and pan kiosks, asking them to refrain from trading in the red-light area, and accusing them of abetting the illegal activities. Police have also asked NMC to raze illegal encroachments and structures in the red-light area. Even as shops and establishments remain shut in the locality, some of the residents are engaging in their regular sex work dodging police surveillance.
In the backdrop of social workers raising a voice against violations of the right to life of the local residents of Ganga Jamuna, advocates are preparing to drag city police to yet another round of legal tussle on the issue.
Advocate Shyamnayan Abhyankar, counsel for the sex workers, said the latest police action on the women of Ganga Jamuna is bad in law in view of the last judgement pronounced by the high court restraining police from act with atrocity in the locality. “The police department felt after passing away of firebrand activist, late Jambuwantrao Dhote, they could get away with any kind of atrocities here. But last year’s high court judgement cannot be obliterated, and it calls for more responsible action from the law enforcement agency than jeopardizing the living right of the commercial sex workers, their children and other dependants,” he said.
“Action taken against minors being forced into prostitution is not barred. In the latest police raid, no minors were rescued nor action was initiated against people who forced them into prostitution. All adult women and their families were harassed in the name of police action,” he said.
Activist Nutan Rewatkar, who had filed a case against police action before State Human Rights Commission in Mumbai, said that displacing women and other residents from the locality is a ploy fashioned builder-politician nexus, so that the prime location can be usurped for commercial gain. “There is an unresolved question of rehabilitation the women, apart from their basic fundamental rights being violated, if they are thrown out of the place and their profession without offering any other means of livelihood,” said Rewatkar