Enough! At a time when the whole country is seething with anger over increasing rape incidents and rising crime against women, some of the leaders and politicians seem to have lost it completely. As if comments like `consumption of chowmein leads to rapes` and `ban skirts in schools to avoid rape` weren’t enough, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh supremo Mohan Bhagwat has come up with another stupid remark.
According to Mr Bhagwat, rapes hardly take place in ``Bharat``, but they occur frequently in ``India``.
Addressing a citizens` meet in Silchar, Bhagwat slammed ``western`` lifestyle of people in urban areas.
"You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values," he said.
May I ask Mr Bhagwat whether Bhanwari Devi, Imrana were living in India or Bharat when they were raped? What about the 16-year-old village girl in West Bengal who was kidnapped and raped by three men, who later sold her to a brothel? Rape has been a sort of an expression of the feudal attitude of the ruling class which views women as the property of men. I hope you remember Phoolan Devi, who was gang-raped in the village of Behmai by upper-class Thakurs in 1979.
Although there has been huge angst over the gang-rape of a girl in New Delhi, yet there is hardly any hue and cry when poor girls are gang-raped in the villages of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana and elsewhere in the country.
Rape is the most naked reality in some of the villages in India. Sometimes the victim is forced to keep her mouth shut by her family, at other times police don’t register the crime under the influence of the accused and then the doctor at times may manipulate the report. This is the ground reality of `Bharat`. Hundreds of rape cases go unregistered in rural India; and it does not mean the practice is absent. It is very much prevalent. You must know it.
Bhagwatji, what is the logic behind linking rape with ``western`` lifestyle of people in urban areas? Could you please throw some light upon how westernised Ram Singh and his gang was, who brutally raped the 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus in Delhi. Or how urban was the man who sexually assaulted his 28-year-old daughter-in-law in a village in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh.
In a country, where the moribund and complacent justice system, police authorities and leaders have ignored the alarming rate of sexual violence, your statement adds to the chaos.
Rape is rape, irrespective of whether it occurs in rural or urban India. It’s time to come up with solutions to curb rising incidents of rape cases, than to discuss where they occur more. Next time, Mr Bhagwat, please come up with a solution for the whole country.