Goa BJP women’s wing president Sulakshana Sawant stirred up a hornet’s nest on Sunday after she said the government was not liable to provide security to every individual, even though she admitted that there was an increase in the number of rape cases being reported in the state. Sawant’s remarks, coming days after a 20-year-old was gang-raped on a beach in south Goa, was panned by the Congress which also sought her resignation.
When asked about the steps the government was taking to curb incidents like the one that took place on the south Goa beach, Sawant said, “The government cannot provide security to every individual. We need to change the mentality of the people. An individual can act as a protector of the other.”
Even though National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that crimes reported by women in Goa dropped from 508 in 2014 to 371 in 2016, the May 25 incident left a blot on the state. The victim and her boyfriend were returning home in the evening from Sernabhatim beach when they were waylaid by three people who demanded money from them at knife point. When the couple were unable to do so, the trio raped the 20-year-old woman. However, the police were quick to act as they arrested the three men, who hailed from Madhya Pradesh, two days later.
Sawant, meanwhile, attributed the rise in the number of rape cases being reported to police as more women were coming forward to report such crimes. “The women believe that something may change if they take a step forward (and report such cases),” she said. The BJP leader further said the government would request the tourism department to install more CCTV cameras on crime-prone beaches in Goa.
Terming Sawant’s remarks disgusting, Goa Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee (GPMCC) said it was the responsibility of the government to provide security to every individual. “It is disgusting that Sawant is making such a statement. She should immediately resign on moral grounds,” GPMCC chief Pratima Coutinho said.