Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Tuesday condemned the custom of ghoongat, the practice of covering one’s face with a veil, and urged for its eradication to promote women empowerment.
Expressing displeasure at the age-old custom followed by women, Gehlot said it belonged to a bygone era and was a deterrent to women’s progress in society.
“Time has changed now but the practice of ghoonghat is still there in villages. What is right in confining a woman to a ghoonghat? Women cannot progress till the ghoonghat exists,” PTI quoted Gehlot as saying at a programme in Jaipur.
Gehlot said women would be able to come forward and play a constructive role in nation-building only when they are not forced to cover their faces.
“Women are empowered. They have the capacity to bring changes in society and their role is very crucial,” he said. “You (women) move forward with strength, the state government is with you,” he said.
Gehlot had previously also advocated for the eradication of the ghoongat. In 2016, speaking at a Women’s college, the Congress leader had insisted on “freeing women from the confines of the ghoongat”.
Emphasising on the need to abolish child marriage in the state, the chief minister said it destroyed the lives of children. Rajasthan has the highest prevalence of child marriages in the country.
Gehlot also stressed on women safety and assured the Congress government’s promise to depute a senior police officer at the district level to monitor cases of crime against women.
The Rajasthan Assembly, in August this year, passed Bills against mob lynching and honour killing, which make them, cognisable, non–bailable and non-compoundable offences with life imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
The bill to curb honour killing also has a provision of death penalty for the convict. The state had witnessed a spurt in lynchings in 2017, beginning with dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in April 2017.
(Inputs from PTI)