Stressing on the importance of women empowerment for nation-building, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said the custom of ‘ghoonghat’ must be eradicated at the earliest.
Expressing displeasure at the practice of covering women’s faces with a ‘ghoonghat’ or veil in some rural areas, Gehlot said the custom belongs to a bygone era.
Speaking in Jaipur at the 20th anniversary celebrations of Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan, an NGO, the CM said, “There still is ghoonghat in villages. What right does a society have to restrict a woman in a ghoonghat.”
Praising women in the audience for sitting without veil on their faces, the CM said, “Jab tak ghoonghat rahega tab tak mahila kabhi aagey nahi barh payegi. Zamana gaya ghoonghat ka. (Women can’t progress as long as there is ghoonghat. The days of ghoongat are over). You have to proceed with courage and confidence; you will find the government standing with you.”
“You can’t restrain a woman with ghoonghat. When they are addressed as Durga and Devi, then they should have participation in nation building. I would like to tell you that the times have changed,” he said.
The CM said his government is serious about crime against women and therefore decided earlier this year to depute a senior police officer at the district level to monitor cases of crime against women.
“The officer will look after all such cases and will ensure that justice is done,” he said.
There shouldn’t be child marriages either, the CM said, recalling how a minor girl reached his residence with her uncle, saying that she is to be married by her father. “Then I ensured, via police, that child marriage doesn’t take place. That she will study and the government will support her,” he said.
Gehlot also said that while the state government has been providing self-defence training to school girls, he has now directed officials to extend the programme to all girls willing to join it.
He also highlighted schemes and programmes of his government and launched a book based on women’s struggles.
(With inputs from PTI)