Jalandhar/Delhi: Coming to the aid of women and children of 39 Punjabis leading an insecure life after their men were held captive by ISIS militants in Iraq, Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) Maneka Gandhi has come forward to take up this issue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for supporting them through her Ministry’s initiatives. It has been two years, since 39 Punjabis were taken hostage by ISIS militants in Mosul city of Iraq, confining hapless women to an uncertain life. Without any source of income, a majority of the women with little children were either forced to leave their in-laws house or make both ends meet on their own.
Maneka Gandhi, who took up major initiatives to assist women and children in distress in the past two years said, “Thanks for bringing this issue to my notice, I will take it up with the External Affairs Minister for support. It was a matter of grave concern for the Ministry”, she said. The Union Minister stated this while replying to a query of Daily Post pertaining to the wives and children of 39 Punjabis, who were forced to leave their in-laws house while their children’s education was affected. Daily Post has prominently taken up this issue in the past.
Maneka Gandhi was speaking at the maiden All India Women Journalists Workshop at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi on June 7. The workshop was a joint initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Press Information Bureau (PIB), Government of India. Notably, it was on June 15, 2014 that the 39 Punjabis stuck in Iraq spoke to their families for the last time. Since then, the kith and kin of those stranded in war torn Iraq had been left shuttling between the Ministry of External Affairs and Punjab. “We have planned to meet External Affairs Minister again.
It is good, if Maneka Gandhi could provide us some work for a livelihood through her ministry initiative, as we were leading a life in penury”, said Usha Rani from Churhwali village in Jalandhar. Manjit Kaur, a woman from Rurka Kalan near Jalandhar whose husband was also stuck in Iraq said, “I am making both ends meet and looking after my three kids through small time stitching work at my village. If, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development could assist us, we would be highly thankful to them.”
Earlier, addressing over 250 women journalists from 30 states and Union Territories across the country, Maneka Gandhi highlighted the key initiatives of her ministry on the completion of two years of Modi government at centre. The minister urged women journalists to give feedback and suggestions on all issues concerning women and children. “The Ministry has achieved some ‘firsts’ to its credit including the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, setting up of ‘One stop centres for women in distress’, Mahila-e-Haat, panic button on mobiles, guidelines for matrimonial websites, 33 percent reservation for women in police force,” she highlighted.
Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman also gave a presentation on the major successful initiatives taken by Prime Minister and interacted with the journalists during an open house session. Secretary Women and Child Development Leena Nair also informed the journalists about the history of Women and Child Development ministry and major reforms done by them.
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