'Politicians reinforcing gender bias should be disqualified'



New Delhi: Hitting out at political and religious leaders for making controversial comments on women, Justice J S Verma Committee has recommended framing of laws to disqualify politicians who issue statements "reinforcing gender bias".

"It is shocking to note that even after the recent horrific incident of gangrape, many political leaders, including members of Parliament/state legislatures, spiritual gurus with large followings and other eminent persons have been making statements reinforcing the gender bias. Some have even blamed the victim for having facilitated the rape by her own behaviour," the committee observed.

It criticised controversial comments of religious leader Asaram Bapu, Communist Party of India (Marxist) member Anisur Rahman, INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, Congress leader and Cabinet Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal as those of "worst kind" on women.

In its 630-page report, the committee even quoted Asaram's statement made after the brutal rape and murder of 23-year-old paramedical student here.

"Only 5-6 people are not the culprits. The victim is as guilty as her rapists... She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop... This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don't think so," the panel quoted Asaram's statement.

The committee emphasised that these "deep rooted prejudices" have to be eliminated for the efficacy of any laws on the subject.

"Many of them have reflected this gender bias contrary to the constitutional mandate after swearing 'to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India', in addition to their fundamental duty 'to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals'," the committee said.

"The time has come to enact laws providing for the subsequent disqualification of elected representatives on this ground alone," he said.

PTI