Don’t close down women counselling centres, Siddaramiah urges Bommai

Bengaluru: Karnataka’s leader of opposition Siddaramaiah on Monday expressed concern over the state government’s decision to close down counselling centres for women due to lack of resources.

“This decision is against the interests of women who have experienced harassment and other social injustices. It is unfortunate that such decision is made at a time when atrocities on women are rising in the state,” he said, urging Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to withdraw the decision to close down the Santwana Kendras.

Santwana Kendras were established by the Women and Child Welfare Department to provide all forms of assistance under a single roof to women in distress. Run with the help of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), they addressed the immediate concerns of distressed women by giving them shelter, economic assistance, employment, education, and legal assistance.

“Thousands of women have had renewed hope with the help of personal counsellors of the centre. The centres have helped many women with suicidal tendencies and prevented many suicides,” Siddaramaiah said.

A total of 71 Santwana Kendras, including all in Bengaluru, have been closed, citing the pandemic-induced financial distress, he noted.

Siddaramaiah demanded that all non-functioning centres must be reopened at the earliest and the decision to close down the remaining functioning centres should be immediately withdrawn.