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Seers, Sanskrit scholars to meet over Vrindavan widows' issues

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Prominent Hindu seers and Sanskrit scholars from across the country will meet in Varanasi tomorrow to explore ways and means to improve the livelihood of widows here.

A large number of widows, including elderly women from different parts of the country, staying in Varanasi, are waiting to join these Sanskrit scholars and Hindu saints to ventilate their feelings against this age old practise, Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said.

"We will urge the eminent Sanskrit scholars to lend us a helping hand in strengthening our campaign against widowhood," he said.

Pathak said he intends to draft a bill and hand it over to the to address the plight of widows who are abandoned by their families.

"I strongly feel time has come for the government to enact a for the welfare, protection and maintenance of widows so that their living conditions and general existence are improved," he said.

"The enormous sufferings and hardships the widows in the country continue to face can only be changed by drafting a law for their all round maintenance," Pathak added.

He said he will hand over a copy of the draft bill to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

As part of Sulabh's efforts to ensure that the widows do not suffer for lack of care Pathak inaugurated a pension scheme for them in April this year.

The non-government organisation had launched a similar monthly pension scheme in Vrindavan a few months back. Every widow is given Rs 2,000 per month by the organisation which takes care of their health and other needs.

The organisation also took initiatives for the welfare of widows after the Supreme Court took strong exception last year to the manner in which the bodies of widows, who lived in government shelter homes at Vrindavan, were disposed.

The court had asked the National Legal Service Authority to contact Sulabh to find out whether they would come forward to help the widows living in four government shelters at Vrindavan.

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