After a two-year delay and constant pressure from activists in Telangana, the state government on Sunday finally appointed a chairperson and members of the Telangana Womenâ€™s Commission. The government has issued orders appointing Sunitha Lakshma Reddy, a former minister, to head the commission. The members of the commission include Shaheena Afroze, Kumra Eshwari Bai, Kommu Umadevi Yadav, Gaddala Padma, Sudham Laxmi and Katari Revathi Rao. The government order issued by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar comes ahead of the December 31 deadline set by the Telangana High Court for setting up the commission.
The Telangana High Court had earlier asked the state government to set up the commission by November 17 but the ruling TRS had failed to do so. The court had then warned the state that Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar will be summoned to explain any further delays. On November 18, the TRS government launched a portal for the women commission, to enable women to file complaints online.
Sunitha Lakshma Reddy was earlier with the Congress and is a former minister for Women and Child Welfare Department (WCD) of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. She was formerly the MLA from Narsapur Assembly constituency of Medak district and had joined the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party in 2019.
In Telangana, the last women commission head was Tripurana Venkataratnam, who left office in 2018 when her term ended. The state government had dragged its feet in appointing a new chief since then despite several pleas from women activists, the National Commission for Women and also the court.
Hyderabad-based women's rights activist Spurthi Kolipaka had launched a Change.org petition in July 2018 which gathered over 30,000 signatures and called for the appointment of a chairman and a functioning website where women can file complaints.