Updated: September 22, 2021 3:33:24 pm
In a fresh war of letters, days after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari wrote to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government asking it to consider a two-day Assembly session to discuss women’s safety against the backdrop of the horrific rape of a homeless woman in Mumbai earlier this month, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has replied suggesting Koshyari write to the Union government seeking a four-day Parliament session to discuss the national issue of crime against women.
Thackeray wrote that Koshyari should request the Prime Minister and home minister to convene Parliament to talk about the image of Delhi as the “rape capital”, of Hathras, Unnao and Badaun gangrapes in Uttar Pradesh and similar incidents in Uttarakhand and Gujarat.
The CM’s reply came after Koshyari wrote to him last week requesting the government to consider a demand of Opposition legislators for a two-day session of the legislature to discuss crime against women.
On September 13, after the Sakinaka rape and murder incident, a delegation of three BJP women legislators had met Koshyari, stating that women were not safe in the state and a special session of the legislature should be convened to discuss the matter.
In his letter dated September 20, Thackeray wrote: “I have received your letter expressing concern for the women in Maharashtra. Your overall tone is that women are not safe in the state. Especially after the unfortunate Sakinaka incident, the delegations of women politicians visited Raj Bhavan and they had feelings of insecurity. Therefore, your feeling is that the two-day session of the legislature should be convened. I can understand your feelings.”
Elaborating the Mumbai Police’s prompt response in reaching the crime spot and arresting the accused, Thackeray highlighted the measures taken by the state government after the incident. “The government is doing its work. Therefore, your suggestion to convene a special session of the legislature to hold a discussion can create a new controversy. While anti-government people are demanding a special session, the Governor is also supporting them and making the same demand. It is detrimental for the parliamentary democratic process,” he wrote.
Thackeray further said that due to the Sakinaka incident, the Governor has expressed concern about crimes against women. “We have the same concern. The issue is not limited to Sakinaka but is nationwide. All women victims across the country are looking at you with great hope. Therefore, a four-day special session of Parliament should be convened to discuss crimes against women in the country. The Governor should make this demand to the Prime Minister and the home minister. The Sakinaka incident can be discussed in the same session,” he added.
Thackeray outlined the rape and gangrape cases under the Centre’s jurisdiction in Delhi and in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Gujarat among others.
“The crimes against women in Delhi have increased dramatically in the last few years. Delhi became infamous in the world and became the rape capital. The law and order in Delhi is a Union government subject. It does not need to be specifically mentioned,” he added.
He further referred to the rape and murder of a 9-year-old Dalit girl in Delhi, stating that the incident took place in a city where the country’s entire Cabinet sits.
Drawing the Governor’s attention to an incident in Bihar where BJP is in power, Thackeray said that a MP raped a woman activist of his party and when she went to the police, there was pressure on the police not to register a case. “Finally, three months later, an FIR was lodged against the MP following a court order. You should compare the prompt action taken by the police in the unfortunate (Sakinaka) incident in Maharashtra and the above incident in the state where BJP is in power,” said Thackeray.
Stating that a magnificent temple of Lord Rama is being constructed at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Thackeray, the party chief of Shiv Sena, said: “We are all devotees of Lord Rama, who always kept a bow ready for the safety of women… But are women really safe in that Ram Rajya?” he asked.
Mentioning Bijnor, Hathras, Unnao and Badaun rape and murder incidents in Uttar Pradesh, he wrote: “The NCRB says that such crimes against women are on the rise in Uttar Pradesh. However, the BJP does not seem to have demanded a special session of the legislature to discuss the issue.”
Invoking the Governor’s home state, Thackeray said that Uttarakhand is devbhoomi (land of God) and “you (Koshyari) are the son of devbhoomi”. “Uttarakhand’s is also witnessing a rise in crimes against women. According to government figures, crimes against women have increased by 150 per cent and crimes against women and murder are on the rise in cities such as Haridwar and Dehradun… What are the remedial measures? Can a special session of the legislature be called there too?” asked Thackeray.
In an apparent attack on neighbouring BJP-ruled Gujarat, Thackeray asked: “Are women really safe in the Gujarat model?”
“According to the Gujarat Police report, 14 women face crimes such as rape and sexual abuse every day. In recent times, 2,908 women have gone missing from Ahmedabad. In the last two years, 14,229 women have gone missing from Gujarat. The crimes against women have peaked in Gujarat since 2015,” he added.
“The figures show that there are three rapes every day in Gujarat. If we want to discuss this, a special session of one month of the Gujarat legislature will have to be convened,” he told Koshyari.
Invoking Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, the CM said, “Chhatrapati always gave priority to safety of women in his rule. The current Maharashtra government is taking ahead Chhatrapati Shivaji’s tradition.”
Last October, Koshyari and Thackeray were engaged in a bitter war of words over reopening of places of worship in the state. While Koshyari demanded that the places of worship be opened and mockingly asked Thackeray if he had turned “secular” suddenly, the CM had hit back, reminding Koshyari that the word “secular” is in the Constitution on which he took the oath of office as Governor. Thackeray also said that he did not need his Hindutva credentials to be certified by Koshyari.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.