Widows hope government will look into their plight

New Delhi : Widows from Varanasi and Vrindavan Monday expressed the hope that the new government will pay attention to their plight and work towards their welfare.

“I did not get a chance to cast my vote as I did not have the documents, but I sincerely hope that the new government will work for our betterment,” 60-year-old Bashumati Devi from Vrindavan told IANS.

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“I hope we will get widow pension and people will consider us part of the society,” she added.

The widows were in the national capital to mark the International Widows’ Day observed June 23 every year. They gathered here under the aegis of NGO Sulabh International.

Maya Mandal, who has been living in an ashram in Vrindavan for the past 12 years, agreed with Bashumati Devi.

The 60-year-old said she expects the Narendra Modi government, who she voted for, will do a good job.

The widows also expressed keenness on approaching the government to demand the introduction of the Widow Protection Bill in the budget session of parliament beginning next month.

Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak said widowed women should not be discriminated against and instead treated at par with others.

“We want the society to change its outlook towards widowed women. The tradition of outcasting them has to be done away with. We want them to be respected and be able to live a life of dignity,” Pathak told IANS.

He said it was essential that the government works in cooperation with NGOs for better results.

“The government should focus on their (widow’s) skill development along with their education and basic training for making them self-reliant,” Pathak said, adding that all they need from the government is moral support.

The widows sang and danced to religious songs to celebrate the day.