Families need to raise boys differently: Walia



New Delhi: Blaming lack of sensitisation and social responsibility for increasing crimes against women, Delhi Minister Kiran Walia on Saturday said rather than telling girls what to wear, it is the need of the hour that families be told to bring up boys differently.

"We need to bring up boys differently in our homes. Boys need to be made sensitive right from school. We need to tell them right from the start that being macho is about being cultured and treating women equally," Walia said.

Asked to comment on what she thought about suggestions that women wearing Western clothes provoke assaults, Walia said this was an absurd idea, and men cannot lose control just because a woman is wearing a western outfit.

"What will such men do if they visit a western country? Go crazy? Where is our maturity? And we have witnessed assaults against women of all kinds and ages. I don't subscribe to this," she told reporters in an interaction here.

"Law is an important instrument for transformation, but not the complete solution," she said.

Commenting on the issue of changing the rape law to make it more stringent with higher penalty, Walia said she was not much hopeful that this would bring a radical difference till the rate of convictions remained abysmally low.

She also said that only increasing the intensity of punishment would not bring much change unless quick redressal mechanisms were introduced.

Regretting there was only partial adoption of modernity in society, Walia said the new generation must also shed bad practises of the past such as dowry if they want to be seen as progressive and modernised.

The Minister for Health and Family Welfare also said that police needs to be made more accountable and should be seen as pro-victim rather than pro-accused to lend confidence to the people.

"I agree there is need for police reform. But there can be no excuse for not performing duty. Police has to be active and pro-victim. I have spoken to officers who say they are aware of trafficking centres and dens. Then why don't they act, and this applies to police all over India," she said.

In controlling trafficking, she said the biggest role is of a dedicated police.

She also raised concerns on instances of misuse of the law on sexual harassment in work places and domestic violence law but said such cases were a minuscule percentage.

Walia said the government had recently increased the support to widows and women in distress from Rs 1,000 to 1,500 per month, and was contemplating a support scheme for older women who are single and dependent on families.

PTI