Traditionalists often say that India is a land were women are revered as goddesses and mothers. However, things are not as straightforward when ground realities are concerned. The fact remains that women are accorded neither equal respect nor equal opportunity. Ours is a country where the government still has to run initiatives like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ to emphasize on providing opportunities to girls, and build toilets for the convenience of its female citizens.
Far more concerning is the growing trend of crime against women. The Nirbhaya incident in 2012 shook the country’s conscience, leading to a call for stricter laws and more protection for women, but six years later, the country has only become more unsafe for women.
The violent rapes of an 8 year old in Kathua and a 16 year old in Unnav have once again brought home the plight of India’s daughters. What is further shocking is the involvement of a politician from the ruling BJP in Unnav, and the pressure from Hindu fringe groups to release the people arrested in relation to Asifa’s gang-rape in Kathua. These incidents have severely dented the BJP’s image, especially as the BJP top brass did not address the situation with the gravitas it demanded. The usually communicative PM’s lack of comments too came in for a lot of flak. AICC president Rahul Gandhi took to twitter saying that the PM’s silence was ‘unacceptable’ and asked the PM’s opinion on the lack of security for women and children, and the reasons why the state was shielding the perpetrators.
Mr Prime Minister, your silence is unacceptable.
1. What do YOU think about the growing violence against women & children?
2. Why are accused rapists and murderers protected by the state?
India is waiting.#SpeakUp
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 13, 2018
Amidst a growing sense of outrage and pressure from political opponents, PM Narendra Modi finally broke his silence to assure the country that the culprits would not be spared and that ‘our daughters’ would get justice. However, this vague message has not gone down well with the opposition. Rahul Gandhi, while thanking the PM for ‘finally’ breaking his silence, demanded to know when the victims would get justice, another question that has gone unanswered.
The irony of two men, one who forsook his wife and the other a bachelor, debating about ‘our daughters’ has not been lost. Of particular interest is A.P. MP J.C.Diwakar Reddy’s suggestion to the PM to adopt a couple of girls to understand the bonds of affection and emotion, and better equip himself to speak about the issues faced by children and his hopes for their future, suggesting that experience is key in such an emotional issue. While this is certainly true, one wonders if anyone with basic humanity can be unaffected by the sorry plight of women and children in India.