Updated: July 31, 2021 10:36:44 am
Hours after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant clarified that his statement on responsibility of parents for safety of minors was taken out of context, Goa Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude supported him and said parents should be as responsible for their children’s safety as the government, because it is the parents who suffer a greater loss.
On Wednesday, Sawant had told the legislative assembly, “Ten persons went to a party on the beach, of which six went home and four stayed back on the beach all night – two boys and two girls. They are 14-year-old children. Parents in Goa should also think about this. They too need to take care. You cannot only blame the government and police. If 14-15 year-olds stay on the beach all night, we need to think about this. Parents are also responsible.”
Sawant’s reaction had come after the Opposition claimed a “collapse of law and order” after the rape of two minor girls near Benaulim beach in South Goa on July 25. Four men were arrested in the case and accused Rajesh Mane, a driver in the Goa government’s agriculture department, was suspended.
In the early hours of Friday, Sawant told the Goa legislative assembly, which was in session till 4am, “What I said yesterday (Thursday) was not something I said as a CM. I too have a 14-year-old daughter…The government is capable of looking after everyone but I said it as a parent that this is our responsibility too.”
Addressing the Speaker, Sawant said, “Based on our culture, we need to inculcate different values in our children. We have to give them that sanskaar (values). If we inculcate these values, we can bring about a change in society. This society needs to change and if we can bring about that change, then there will be a change in various things like crime.”
He added, “The government and police are doing everything they can. I have said that the responsibility is on both sides. We have not lifted our hands. We are shouldering our responsibility. Goa is not unsafe. It is a safe destination even today. I did not want to hurt anybody’s sentiments and I have not discriminated against anyone. Boys and girls are equal for me. That’s why I said we need to take care of our children and the government will also do its part. I, as the CM and my police department are fully capable.”
Later, Gaude said, “…In cases of minors, parents should find out where their children are going. Have they taken permission to stay at somebody’s place?… It is the responsibility of the parents also and the government too. We are not running away from shouldering the responsibility. CM has already clarified early in the morning. Nuksaan kisko hota hai, woh parent ko hi zyada hota hai na (Who suffers a greater loss? The parents do),” Gaude said.
Speaking to reporters outside the legislative assembly, Gaude said, “If there has to be one (police) constable behind every girl, how many people will we need? Government is not running away from its responsibility. I am only saying parents should be equally responsible.”
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