March 14, 2021 2:42:08 am
The Haryana State Commission for Women Saturday sought “strict explanation” from former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda while asking him to reply why penal action may not be taken against him for letting woman MLAs pull his tractor outside the Vidhan Sabha on March 8.
Taking suo motu congnisance of reports and videos of the incident in which Hooda was seen sitting on a tractor pulled by, among
others, some woman legislators of the Congress during a protest against fuel price rise, HSCW chairperson (officiating) Preeti Bhardwaj Dalal has sought his explanation within three days.
In the notice issued to Hooda, the HSCW said that March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day and the whole nation was shocked and surprised that the Leader of Opposition in Haryana who is also a former chief minister was sitting on a tractor that was being towed by party MLAs. “It is repeated that the MLAs whom you misused were women,” the notice read.
“What is important to understand here is the fact that this act was committed with the ulterior motive and intention to harm, disrespect and strip the dignity of women on Women’s Day, itself. Your actions cannot be justified in any manner whatsoever – with regard to time, place, date, month, intention, motive, using other gender and also men – as you were towed by both. You have committed an act of gendered political violence with the motive to watershed the relevance of all events planned for International Women’s Day. Sadly, you chose women themselves to commit this undignified and disrespectful act that has hanged the heads of one and all, irrespective of gender or party or any affiliations, in shame. Sadly, this was pre-planned with the intention when Haryana State Assembly was on its way to making history – had a thoughtful and supreme gesture of making women MLAs preside as Speaker (during) Budget session,” the notice further read.
Castigating Hooda for the incident, the HSCW chief wrote, “You chose to challenge our existence – as women. You chose to challenge women MLAs of Haryana by attempting to strip them of their joy as presiding officers for a day. You chose to challenge each woman of Haryana at place in Haryana Secretariat which is temple of democracy, political power and the source of existence of laws for the State itself. You chose to challenge the Head of Government – Chief Minister of Haryana who was overwhelmed while explaining and making a point in context of this incident, next day before whole strength of Legislative Assembly. His helplessness – as a man – was visible and efforts made by Government of Haryana for women empowerment – announcement of schemes for women and girls, awarding our S-heroes of Haryana – seemed irrelevant to lakhs of women of Haryana. Sadly, you too headed this same state of Haryana”.
She added, “You chose to challenge and you managed to play with the emotional connect that each person has with women in their lives – as grandmother, as mother, as daughter, as wife, as niece, as colleague, as party worker, as neighbour and a Goddess, too”.
Asking Hooda to reply within three days, the notice said, “Seek a strict written explanation from you as the Head and Leader of Opposition party in the State of Haryana as to why strict penal action under Prevention of Women of Workplace Act 2013 and under Indian Penal Code may not be taken against you”.
As a mark of protest against the rising fuel prices, Hooda had sat on a tractor that was pulled by Congress MLAs while they were on their way to Vidhan Sabha on March 8. Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and other BJP MLAs had condemned the incident in the Vidhan Sabha, responding to which Congress’s Shakuntla Khatak had defended Hooda and said that there was no difference between a man and a woman and there was nothing wrong if woman legislators pulled the tractor.
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