Disrobing of deceased women in Goa can be a thing of the past now. According to the Goa Human Rights Commission, following this practice violates the human dignity and basic rights of a woman.

The commission wants to end this retrograde practice. For the same, it has passed recommendations to the director of municipal administration and the director of panchayats to issue directions to all municipalities and village panchayats.

“It is important that all departments conduct awareness programs so that there is reform movement in the state,” – Convener, Bailancho Saad

The commission has also requested the state chief secretary to ensure that these recommendations are strictly adhered to.

Complaints from people

The commission took this important step after receiving complaints from a woman’s collective — Bailancho Saad. The latter had stated that in some communities, deceased women are publicly disrobed at the crematorium. The experience is a humiliating one for family members since the deceased is disrobed in front of men.

Three instances causing fury

Bailancho Saad mentioned that three such incidents had been reported to the NGO. In the first instance, a young man said that he was in great distress by the act and the comments passed about his wife who died at childbirth.

Also: Worth of a woman in India by Elsamarie DSilva

The second instance reported took place at Bastora, Bardez.

In the third instance, a volunteer from the same NGO said that her minor son left the final rituals of his grandmother in Anjuna midway. It was a traumatic experience for him to see her being disrobed.

Ending the retrograde practice

The report filed before the commission also said that people circulate photos of the funeral process on Whatsapp. It also demanded that the practice be eradicated.

“It is important that all departments conduct awareness programs so that there is reform movement in the state. We’re (Goa) ahead in upholding the rights of women but in certain areas we still have to work hard,” the convener of Bailancho Saad said.

She also added that disrobing is not a religious, but a social practice.

“I have seen women being cremated with honour. The privilege should be allowed to all women,” she said.

She added that the male members of the family need to make a positive intervention. Each ward member, she said, should take responsibility for the deaths in their wards and convince people to cremate their family members with dignity.

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