Women crossing their limits, like Sita, will be punished: BJP minister #WTFnews #Vaw #Rape


Published: Friday, Jan 4, 2013, 10:40 IST
Agency: ANI

Kailash Vijayvargiya

Madhya Pradesh industry minister Kailash Vijayvargiya statement that women, who breach their moral limits deserve punishment, has caused a major embarrassment for the main opposition party BJP. Vijayvargiya joins the growing list of politicians who have made derogatory remarks against women.

Recently, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, one of her party colleagues Kakoli Ghosh, and President Pranab Mukherjee‘s son had joined the list of politicians who had cast aspersions on the character of victims of sexual harassment.

Senior Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Vijayvargiya said quoting Ramayana, “Ek hi shabd hai – Maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Rawan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega. (There is only one word: limit. When limit is crossed, Sita is apprehended. There is a Laxman rekha for all. Whoever crosses this limit will confront Rawan waiting, and Sita will be kidnapped)”

He further said that if a woman crosses her limits she will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana.

Explaining that everyone is worried and society has to think why such incidents are happening, Vijayvargiya said added not only political parties but also people who lead the society have to think over it seriously He said just making tough laws cannot control such incidents and “we need to think seriously upon it. I think these incidents are happening where the dignity is being breached.”

 

#India-Where women fear to tread #MP #VAW #Indiashining


MAHIM PRATAP SINGH, The Hindu

In the State that leads in incidents of rape, the shame-inducing statistics are pushing the administration into action

Time was when Payal (name changed to protect her identity), a standard VII student from Madhya Pradesh’s tribal dominated Betul district, had only school, friends and family on her mind. But her little world changed dramatically in March this year.

The 15-year-old, a resident of Betul’s Majhinagar slum, was abducted in public by a gangster, Rajesh Harore.

Rajesh (32) then took the tribal girl to a shanty and raped her. But that was not all. Two weeks later Rajesh, along with two other men, came to her house. As the helpless teenager watched, they shot her mother dead for having approaching the police.

Payal’s story is just one of the several thousand stories of rape that get scripted in Madhya Pradesh every year.

Away from the kind of media glare that Haryana found itself facing after a string of rapes committed recently, in Madhya Pradesh the crime continues unabated and with impunity.

Over the last two decades, the State has led the country in the number of rapes committed, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data (1991-2011).

Only last year, it recorded 3,406 cases of rape, which means nine women were raped here every 24 hours.

In the first six months of this year (January-July 2012), there were 1,927 cases of rape — an increase of 6.11 per cent over the number of rapes committed during the same period in 2010 and 2011. Overall, the State accounted for 14 per cent of the rapes committed across the country in 2011.

Among cities, the State capital, Bhopal, with 100 rapes, was second only to the metropolises Delhi (453) and Mumbai (221), while the State’s industrial capital, Indore, stood fifth, registering 91 rapes.

Floating population a reason

The statistics tell a horrifying story. But why are so many women raped in Madhya Pradesh every year?

According to the police, the State’s huge floating population is one reason. Also, they say, unlike in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan or Haryana, they never turn away a complainant. Every rape complaint is registered.

Perhaps, another more important reason is the conservative attitude of people in M.P., as in certain other States, towards women.

“In most parts of these States, the girl child is still considered a liability. Women are perceived to be good for only two things — sex and giving birth to a boy. It is almost like they need the women, but not the girls,” says Anuradha Shankar, Inspector-General of Police, Indore.

Not surprisingly, the top five States in terms of the number of rapes — Madhya Pradesh (3,406), West Bengal (2,363), Uttar Pradesh (2,042), Rajasthan (1,800) and Maharashtra (1,701) — also have dismal sex ratios.

While Madhya Pradesh (930), Rajasthan (926) and Uttar Pradesh (908) have sex ratios below the national average of 940, West Bengal (947) and Maharashtra (946) are just on the threshold.

Attitudes within the government too are a cause for concern. At least two ministers of the Shivraj Singh Chauhan cabinet have publicly blamed victims for bringing rape upon themselves by dressing provocatively.

In April, the Urban Development Minister, Babulal Gaur, blamed short dresses of girls for the rising number of sexual harassment cases. Three months later, the Industries Minister, Kailash Vijayvargiya, while commenting on the Guwahati molestation case, advised girls to dress in sync with Indian culture.

He went a step ahead and said that members of the National Commission for Women team who went to probe the Guwahati incident looked like participants of a fashion show.

Low conviction rates

But if provocative dressing by young girls was indeed the reason for rape, more revealing are the statistics that show that rapists have no age preference when it came to choosing targets.

According to the NCRB, Madhya Pradesh registered the highest number of rapes of women above 50 years of age, along with the maximum number of minor adolescent rapes — 1,195 cases.

Of these, 886 girls were between 14-18 years while 309 were between 10-14 years.

Earlier this year, the State Home Minister, Umashankar Gupta, admitted in the Vidhan Sabha that 3,176 minor girls were raped in the State over the last two years. That’s four minor girls a day.

At 6,665 cases, M.P. also had the highest number of molestation cases during 2011. Even as rapes have been rising, conviction rates have remained low with Madhya Pradesh recording an abysmal rate of 23.6 per cent during 2011.

Police say rape is a complicated crime and is difficult to stop since “about 65 per cent cases involve people known to the victim.”

New department

“Earlier this year, when a lot of rapes were being reported from Indore, we did a survey and found that 22 out of the 25 rapes reported were committed by relatives, family members or persons known to the victim,” says Ms Shankar.

The State has been trying hard to get rid of the shame-inducing statistics. A step in that direction is the setting up of the Crime against Women (CaW) branch. Headed by ADG Aruna Mohan Rao, it was set up this June. The unit has four Inspectors-General of Police functioning under the ADG. The IGs, one each in Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur, are tasked with monitoring cases of crime against women on a daily basis.

Besides, there are four deputy-directors of prosecution (DDP) who monitor all cases in the courts during the trial stage in order to check the abysmal conviction rate.

The new department has also undertaken a ground level study in order to analyse all rape cases, follow-up on pending investigation and identify reasons for low conviction rates. CaW is still in its infancy, but Ms Rao claims it has started showing results.

“There has been an increased level of sensitisation within the police force. Only the constables are yet to be adequately sensitised but we are working towards that. We will assess the results once the specialised branch completes six months of operations,” she says. Even then, only an assessment of how safe women in Madhya Pradesh feel, will provide the true measure of CaW’s success or otherwise. Right now, they live in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.

Saffron vs Saffron: 200 RSS workers attack BJP office in Indore


 

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Indore/Bhopal, August 29, 2012

In what proved to be a major embarrassment for the party, about 200 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Indore on Tuesday night. For the RSS, the attack was to “teach the errant BJP a lesson”, but the BJP was at a loss to even react, not to  mention lodging a complaint.
A local RSS leader said, “If a child starts eating mud, what will the mother do? She will not watch quietly, she will slap the child. And that is what the RSS has done.” It turned out that the ‘parent’ was angry with the ‘child’ over the transfer of a police officer credited with acting against a criminal.

On Tuesday night, the Sangh workers barged into the BJP party office at Jaora compound and ransacked the three-storey office. The few office staffers and party workers who were present either hid or ran away. Angry RSS workers raised slogans against state industries minister Kailash
Vijayvargiya and MLA Ramesh Mendola and burnt chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s effigy.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders, including state president Prabhat Jha, chose to keep mum on the issue, given the sensitivity of the matter. This line of action, or rather inaction, was decided at a series of meetings held at the CM’s residence in Bhopal. Indore city unit president Shankar Lalwani was called to Bhopal to explain the situation. Apart from the CM, Jha and state BJP general secretary (organisation) Arvind Menon were also present at the meetings.

“This is an unfortunate incident. It is our internal matter. We briefed the CM about it,” Lalwani told HT
RSS workers, however, continued to be vocal. “It’s about peace and order. Goonda elements are dominating. What happened was a reaction to the same,” said RSS’ Malwa Prant Sanghchalak Laxman Rao Nawathe.
Why RSS is angry?

The RSS is angry over additional SP Rakesh Singh’s transfer around a month ago. Singh had booked Manoj Parmar, a criminal, who had earlier accused BJP MLA Sudarshan Gupta and Sangh Seva Pramukh, Indore Mahanagar, Gopal Goyal, among others, of shooting at him while he was taking part in a religious procession on July 23. Parmar is supposed to have acted at the behest of state industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and MLA Ramesh Mendola.

 

In the name of Bharatiya Sanskar


 

RASHEEDA BHAGAT

...and stop lecturing women on all the wrong things.
…and stop lecturing women on all the wrong things.

Can we, as a mature country, stop pointing an accusing finger at women all the time? How come nobody is giving homilies to men that it is not alright to assault and molest women, as witnessed in Guwahati recently?

July 23, 2012:

In Khalid Hosseini’s heart wrenching and brilliant novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, Nana tells her little daughter Mariam, the protagonist: “Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam.”

That story is set in Afghanistan and traverses the country’s 45-year period, beginning with the pro-Soviet era. However much women in the developed world and non-Islamic countries such as India might pity the pathetic state and status of women under the Taliban era in Afghanistan or even Pakistan, in their hearts, they know these searing words hold good for any woman.

Let’s take this comment in the context of the horrendous incident that took place in the heart of Guwahati, where a 17-year-old girl was molested by 11 men — some accounts say 15 — for more than 20 minutes. And this, not in a confined space but a busy street, as shown from the footage captured by a television cameraman.

One needs to have nerves of steel to watch on the Net the footage of that barbaric incident, where the young girl, who is being relentlessly pawed, pushed and pulled brutally by her hair, her top ripped to expose her breasts. She keeps pleading: “Aisa mat karo … tera bhi bahen hei (Please don’t treat me thus; you too have sisters),” but to no avail.

What is even more depressing to watch is that nobody does anything about it. The entire nation has expressed outrage at the incident; some finding fault with the photographer for filming the whole episode instead of helping the victim; others at a member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Ms Alka Lamba, for making public the girl’s identity. Actually, in the footage, the girl gives her name when the police do arrive, a good 30 minutes later. And, this, despite a police station being barely one km away from the scene of crime.

ANOTHER TWIST

But once everybody had condemned the beasts who assaulted a girl in this horrendous manner, the debate took another turn.

The schoolgirl had come out from a bar where a fight had broken out. So eyebrows were raised at why “respectable” girls should go to bars and drink, or rather, why they should drink at all. After all, isn’t this against our Bharatiya sanskar?

And, then, we had a real gem from the Chairperson of the NCW, Mamata Sharma. If you thought NCW is supposed to bat for women, you thought wrong.

A few days ago, we had a lecture from the honourable lady on how women need to be “careful about the way they dress, because blindly aping the West can result in such incidents.”

After a sermon on how “aping the west is eroding Indian culture”, she deigned to admit that after 64 years of Independence it was not fair to give “such blanket directions” to women. But what to do, the poor woman had no option.

Now, this is absolute rubbish, and of the worst kind. First of all, from what I could see from the footage, the teenager was dressed in a pair of jeans and a top that thousands of Indian women wear.

Where does erosion of Indian culture come if girls/women want to wear jeans? By the way, a young Pakistani cop in Lahore shot his sister dead two days ago for wearing jeans.

And even if the Assamese girl was wearing what Ms Sharma and her ilk might consider “provocative” clothes, isn’t that her own business, or at the most that of her parents or immediate family?

Emboldened, perhaps by the missive let loose by the NCW chief, we now have the Madhya Pradesh Minister for Industries, Mr Kailash Vijayvargiya, lecturing Indian women on their dress code. His words of wisdom: “Women’s fashion, lifestyle and conduct should be in accordance with Indian culture. They should not wear clothes that provoke others. They should dress in such a way that they invoke respect in others.”

DRIVEL, AT BEST

I am livid at being forced to listen to this kind of drivel. By blaming the poor girl, a mere child of 17, and insinuating that she was responsible for the disgusting behaviour of the morons who attacked and molested her, totally ignoring her repeated pleas for mercy, can we please have somebody lecturing the male devils who assaulted her? Why is it that I am yet to hear any mantras on “Bharatiya sanskriti” being read out to men?

How come no one of any consequence is giving homilies to men that it is not alright to assault and molest women; to paw or pinch them in buses; to stalk them on streets; to kill them for the sake of saving your family’s so-called honour — oh yes, honour killings do happen in India, too — to rape them to show their physical superiority?

Can we as a mature country, a mature people, please stop pointing the accusing finger at women all the time? And, stop lecturing them on how they should dress or behave? One is getting a little tired of trite comments from modest brains that take it for granted that women dress in one fashion or another only to please men, or attract them, or “provoke” them. Most of the time this is the male point of view; it is tragic that the NCW chief fell into that old trap too.

Instead of such nonsense and moral policing, can we have sensible debates on the serious issues that confront Indian women? Such as challenges on adequate health care, sanitation or drinking water, to fetch which millions of Indian women have to move heaven and earth; equal opportunities for education, employment and a supportive environment for employed women? Most of all, how do we ensure a safe environment in which women can move freely without fear of being violently assaulted as happened in Guwahati?

Last, but not the least, let’s talk about a safe home, where girl babies are allowed to be born and not slaughtered in the womb after sex selection tests, or burned because they did not fetch adequate dowry. Forget the streets of Delhi, Guwahati or Patna, our fast declining gender ratio points an accusing finger at the home being the most unsafe place for the girl child, sister, wife or mother.Bharatiya sanskar? Give me a break, please.

Responses to rasheeda@thehindu.co.in and blfeedback@thehindu.co.in