March 6, 2015 3:21:51 am
On Wednesday, many MPs were agitated over a documentary which shows one of the convicts in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape making “outrageous” remarks. But this collective outrage does not fit well with the past statements on rape made by many elected representatives.
From Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s “boys make mistakes” quip to JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav’s smiling confession in the Lok Sabha about having stalked girls — political leaders have been guilty of insensitivity that goes beyond mere gaffe.
In April 2014, addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav had told a cheering crowd, “You are hanging people for rape… Boys tend to commit mistakes.We will try to change such a law. Those who do it will be punished and the law will also have provisions for punishment of people who file false reports.”
Manohar Lal Khattar, now the Chief Minister of Haryana, also prescribed a dress code for women. “If a girl is dressed decently, a boy will not look at her in the wrong way. If they want freedom, why don’t they just roam around naked? Freedom has to be limited,” Khattar had said in the run-up to last year’s Lok Sabha polls.
While campaigning for the same elections, Trinamool MP Tapas Paul had threatened supporters of rival parties with rape. “I will send my boys to their houses to rape them.”
SP’s Naresh Aggarwal — currently an MP in the Upper House — caused a furore when, in the aftermath of the Badaun gangrape, he said that not even an animal can be forced out of the house. He had also said a lot of rape complaints happen because men and women fall out after consensual sex.
Participating in the discussion on the proposed changes in the IPC after the Delhi gangrape, which included stringent penal provisions for stalking, Sharad Yadav had said: “Who among us has not followed (women). When you have to talk to a woman, when she initially does not entertain, you have to keep trying to talk to her…I have experienced this myself,” Yadav had said in March 2013.
In June the same year, in Bhopal, former Rajya Sabha MP and currently vice-president of BJP, Raghunandan Sharma, had said, “Girls should stop wearing skin-tight jeans because they show the body in its natural shape, and that’s not good. Nari ki ek maryada hoti hai.’’
Reacting to the Guwahati gangrape in September 2013, Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya had said, “Women should dress in a way that earns them respect… they should not arouse (sexual) excitement.’’
(With inputs from Milind Ghatwai)
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