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Rahul Gandhi’s comment about Rape in India sparked aggression in the parliament. When will our politicians stop politicising rape and start taking actions?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an event, last year, said ‘Rape is rape’ and it should not be politicised. But can we say rape is not politicised in the country? Sadly, the recent debate around Rahul Gandhi’s statement made this very clear.
At a poll event in Jharkhand, while addressing a crowd, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said that “Narendra Modi said ‘Make in India’ but nowadays wherever you look, it is ‘Rape in India’.”
He was trying to address the inability of the present government to provide women security. And the very fact that the Prime Minister has not uttered a word about the recent brutal rapes. Including the Unnao case which involves their own party MLA.
After this, the Parliament erupted with remarks by BJP MP Smriti Irani calling it a “clarion call” to rape women in India. It is irresponsible of Rahul Gandhi to mention rape in such a flippant manner. Thus, the uproar on this is justified. It makes you wonder what the issue here really is. If it is the case of who said what or if it is the issue of how women are treated in the country.
India has seen some horrific rapes. From the Nirbhaya rape in Delhi to the Kathua gang rape to the rape and brutal murder of a vet in Hyderabad. The situation is worsening by the day.
There is not a single woman or girl who can say that she doesn’t have a constant security alarm going on in her head. We see and read news of a 3-month old baby being raped, an 80-year-old women being raped.
After the brutal gang rape in 2012 and the protests that followed, there was a spark that things might get better. Stricter laws were formed, fast track courts were set up, even a Nirbhaya fund was set up.
Still, the conditions haven’t changed. According to the annual Crime in India Report 2017 by NCRB, a total of 3,59,849 cases were reported against women in 2017. Out of which a total of 32,559 cases were rapes. This suggests that the conditions of women safety have only deteriorated.
Rape has been many times politicised in the county for the selfish interest of politicians. The best example of this is the Kathua rape case. Where the victim was a Muslim and the accused perpetrators Hindus. This was also why right-wing Hindu groups like the Hindu Ekta Manch came out in support of the suspected rapists and held protests in the state.
Apart from this, a couple of ministers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also took part in these protests. Comments like ‘Boys committing mistakes, boys will be boys’ ‘Stop men and women from interacting freely to prevent rape’ ‘Chowmein incites men to rape,’ are quite common in our country. The recent comment by Rahul Gandhi is not really surprising.
All the women politicians from BJP protested against Gandhi’s statement, which is justified, but looking at the current scenario it seems hypocritical.
Many people from the BJP have been accused of harassment against women. MJ Akbar was accused in #MeToo. Kuldeep Sengar was accused in Unnao Rape case. He was also alleged to have caused the accident that resulted in the death of the rape victim.
Fun fact here is the that Smriti Irani and the women politicians demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi have not uttered a single word on the MJ Akbar case or the Unnao case. This makes us think about the ‘selective outrage’ just for the sake of politics.
We need to understand one small thing that the issue is more than who said what. It is about the treatment of women in our country. The fact that rapes are happening, women are being molested and there is no fear of law in the mind of perpetrators at all.
Stricter rules were made after 2012, but sadly they are not being implemented. After the horrific Nirbhaya rape case, the Centre set up a fund that the states can use when it comes to implementing measures to ensure women’s safety. But an analysis of the data released by the government on the Nirbhaya Fund reveals that around 89% of the funds are unused.
This clearly shows that women’s safety is least the priority of our government. At the same time, the politicians cribbing about others making statements on rape are not doing anything for women security either.
Coming to 2012 Nirbhaya case, it’s been seven years to that heinous crime yet, the rapists are alive despite a death sentence. And what’s sad is that they filed a review petition for the death sentence. Why? Because apparently, they have human rights too.
Also, mind you, this case was tried in a “fast track” court. Imagine how long it would have taken had it gone through normal court procedures. This makes me wonder don’t women have human rights too? Don’t women deserve justice?
It is high time we move beyond comments and statements and look at how women are treated in this country. One should first understand that women because of their gender and sexual identity are marginalised. Rape is a barbaric, inhuman crime. No matter what religion the rapist belongs to, what their political orientation is, we must stand against it and question the system and the law.
Hence, it is very important to stop playing politics with women’s issues and start working on them.
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