On completing a year-and-a-half in office, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel talks to The Indian Express on the new anti-conversion law and security of women. Edited excerpts:
Soon after taking charge, you took strict measures to improve and streamline university education. Then, everything changed once the pandemic started?
After taking charge, I started enquiring about the functioning of universities, the appointment of vice-chancellors etc. I then realised that 260 files were pending since 2014 and once I started looking into these files, I realised the anomalies taking place. Things started getting streamlined. But then corona came, and the results that were expected could not come and the year was completed.
You made lots of field visits before the pandemic began… What was your feedback regarding law and order?
I interacted with women during my visits, went to villages and was satisfied with the work undertaken. People told me that law-and-order situation was very bad earlier but they find it okay and better now. People told me that earlier industries did not come here, but now industries have also started coming, which means that they feel that the law-and-order situation has improved compared to the past.
There have been crimes against women in the state that have been highlighted quite often…
There are various ills in society, families and individuals. When these ills come out, they lead to such incidents. Then we think that justice is given, proper action is taken. But I would say that it is also the responsibility of the family to handle children. At home, caution should be taken to keep a watch on what sons and daughters are doing outside, whether any untoward incidents might happen.
Recently, the new anti-conversion law came into force. But there have been instances where women have said they have the right to decide their partner. Has someone sought your intervention?
Whenever a Bill comes, it does not come just like that. There is a survey conducted that shows how many girls married, how many faced problems, how many girls came back, how many girls lodged complaints. Even parents come forward seeking arrests, alleging that the boy changed his name. When such incidents are increasingly reported during a survey, in such a situation such a Bill is brought and is pursued. Women come to me with different issues and if required, I refer issues to the government. But there are not many complaints.
Farmers’ protests are continuing against the new farm laws…
All those farmers who are intelligent…have there been protests in any other part of the country? Only farmers from Punjab are sitting in protest. When a Bill is brought, no one discusses which part is causing the problem. There is simply a demand to withdraw it. One should think with intellect.
There was a new law regarding the recovery of damages to property during protests, and posters of the accused were put up on crossings. Did anyone approach you for relief, seeking intervention?
All those who do wrong never go anywhere. However, if one has not done any wrong and gets the notice then they approach people but no one approached me in this regard.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines