Political parties pay lip service to women’s safety : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

Political parties pay lip service to women’s safety

The Swati Maliwal, Brij Bhushan and Prajwal cases highlight the double standards of politicians on women’s issues.

Political parties pay lip service to women’s safety

ORDEAL: Swati Maliwal’s case adds another dimension to the violence women face, which extends from domestic abuse to sexual crimes and acid attacks. PTI



Prem Chowdhry

Author and Former Academic, Delhi University

THE Swati Maliwal case underlines a horrifying reality — political parties are reluctant to walk the talk on women’s issues. They may pledge their commitment to empowering women, but when it comes to taking action, they are nowhere to be seen. It is not just the Aam Aadmi Party that is at fault. The BJP has been largely evasive about the sexual harassment case against its MP, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The saffron party has not only ignored his condemnable acts, but it has also given the ticket to his son to fight the Lok Sabha election from the Kaiserganj constituency in Uttar Pradesh. The oft-repeated shibboleths of Nari Shakti and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao remain empty political slogans.

In the Maliwal case, Arvind Kejriwal’s former personal secretary Bibhav Kumar is accused of assaulting her at the Delhi Chief Minister’s residence. Violence took place during a heated exchange between Kumar and Maliwal, a Rajya Sabha MP. She was allegedly slapped and kicked in the chest and stomach. Did it have something to do with her superior position — as an MP — to that of the man (the CM’s aide)? What we do know is that violence was the result.

The case of Brij Bhushan — a former chief of the Wrestling Federation of India and a six-time MP — pertains to the sexual harassment of female wrestlers. He was charged by the court for sexual harassment, stalking, outraging the modesty of women and criminal intimidation. The matter brings to the fore the menace of sexual exploitation of women by powerful individuals.

Prajwal Revanna, a young MP from Karnataka, has been accused of sexually abusing several women. He belongs to an influential political family — he is the grandson of former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) chief Deve Gowda. The Karnataka State Commission for Women has stated that the parliamentarian had abused women and made objectionable videos of them without their consent. When the videos went viral and the truth could not be denied any longer, Prajwal fled to Germany. Even as he continues to evade the authorities, he has been suspended by the party. Interpol has been contacted to locate him, but there has been no success so far. Incidentally, the JD(S) is an ally of the BJP in Karnataka in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

These cases underscore the double standards that political leaders adopt towards women and highlight the difference in what they say and what actions they take. Maliwal’s case adds yet another dimension to the violence women face, which extends from domestic abuse to murder (dowry deaths and honour killings), sexual crimes (rape, human trafficking and prostitution) and acid attacks.

The unpalatable truth about women in India, both historically and socially, is that they are struggling for their own identity, shouting to have their voices heard and fighting for their esteem and respect. Despite the constitutional guarantee of gender equality, rampant discrimination and exploitation of women continue in India. Incidents of sexual harassment, molestation and ill-treatment of women are on the rise. It is high time that women got a respectable and dignified position in Indian society to fearlessly voice their opinions. Awareness should be spread among women and in society, and their rights should be protected. All crimes against women should be made punishable.

In this era of globalisation and revolution in the means of communication and information technology, the role of the media has become all the more crucial for women’s empowerment in India. There has been much societal progress all over the world. And a number of organisations have been striving to protect the honour and freedom of women. But in our country, a deep-rooted patriarchal attitude persists. That is the reason why it is the male child that gets more attention in a family and enjoys more freedom than a girl.

It is necessary to have women in India educated so that they can live with dignity and help solve their issues. Education alone would give them confidence. Every woman has a fundamental right to be safe. If she is able to protect herself and stand up against injustice, her protest becomes meaningful. Socio-economic empowerment of women can help improve their status in society.

Unfortunately, the Maliwal, Brij Bhushan and Prajwal cases have sown fear in the minds of women. Inaction or delayed action by law enforcement authorities only adds to their plight. Notably, the police initially dragged their feet on registering an FIR against Brij Bhushan; they did it only after the intervention of the Supreme Court. It is imperative that courts take these things into consideration and order a speedy trial to ensure the harshest punishment possible for the culprits. Such promptness will at least deter people from committing crimes against women. It is the perpetrators who should be afraid, not the victims. Hopefully, the judiciary will understand the gravity of the situation and ensure the swift delivery of justice in such cases.

A change in mindset can make women’s lives more safe and secure. The need of the hour is to create awareness about their rights to save them from exploitation. Inculcating strong social, moral and cultural values among citizens through education and making strong laws to punish perpetrators can bring about a positive change.

#Aam Aadmi Party AAP


Top News

Rajya Sabha MP's daughter driving BMW runs over man sleeping on footpath in Chennai, gets bail

Rajya Sabha MP's daughter driving BMW runs over man sleeping on footpath in Chennai, gets bail

Daughter of Jagan Reddy's party MP was arrested but granted ...

Lok Sabha mandate shows strength of democracy: PM Modi in Kashi

Lok Sabha mandate shows strength of democracy: PM Modi in Kashi Lok Sabha mandate shows strength of democracy: PM Modi in Kashi

Reiterates commitment to farmers, women, poor, youth

Punjab cracks whip on cops aiding drug peddlers, 10K shifted in 3 days

Punjab cracks whip on cops aiding drug peddlers, 10K shifted in 3 days Punjab cracks whip on cops aiding drug peddlers, 10K shifted in 3 days

Guilty face dismissal, smugglers’ property to be confiscated...


Cities

View All