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'Women are not at all safe in BJP's regime'

Thursday, April 19, 2018

At a time when the nation is still in shock and expresses angst over the rising number of horrific rapes (and killings) in Surat, Unnao (UP), Kathua (J&K) and several other parts of India, these incidents are a chilling testimony to the lack of safety for women in India. No lessons seem to have been learned post the Nirbhaya incident, the infamous 2012 Delhi gang rape case. While several have been demanding a host of changes, including setting up of fast track courts, the common rhetoric is   hang those who kidnapped, drugged, violated and murdered eight-year-old Asifa Bano, who was merely grazing her horse at the time of this incident.

While several groups of individuals, lawyers, politicians and political parties have condemned these incidents and come out in support of the victims, demanding strict against the perpetrators and time-bound conviction. Candlelight marches to protest against these heinous rapes hardly yield anything, as most of the countrymen and women demand action, rather than just false promises and assurances.

Sanjay Nirupam, President of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) spoke to Dev Kotak on death penalty for rapists and the need for fast track courts in the wake of  PM Narendra Modi and BJP’s failure to protect women and rampant attacks on women and children.

The Mumbai Congress under your leadership organised a candle light vigil for justice for Asifa Bano and the Unnao gang rape victim. It has been observed that these marches and protests result in nothing, so then why this public outcry?
See the time has come where all of us have to come out on the streets and voice our opinions against such unacceptable and brutal crimes, specially against young minor girls. The people of India must show concern and there is growing angst among the people because our daughters get raped and are violated every now and then and such kind of brutality must be condemned. These gatherings are also a sign, opposing those who support the perpatrators of heinuos crimes like these. Such people who are supportive of these offenders must know that 'this is wrong and it needs to be stopped.' Hence I urge the people of India, NGOs, politicians and political parties, bureaucrats and film stars to speak up against such incidents and throughly condemn it.

Two BJP ministers (from the ruling BJP-PDP alliance in J&K) have been made to resign in light of the Asifa incident. Is this a move to deflect attention and quell public anger?
This is a farce because in Jammu a rally to save the rapists was organised. Firstly, not being able to ensure safety of women, specially minor girls is an absolute failure on the part of the state machinery. Secondly the government is probably hand-in-glove with those directly responsible for this shameful act. BJP must be ashamed of itself. Even in Unnao if you see, it is a BJP MLA (Kuldeep Singh Sengar) involved in a rape, which is very disturbing and disgusting. He was arrested only after Rahulji (Gandhi) led a midnight candlelight vigil at India Gate in Delhi. Yogi Adityanath (UP CM) is trying to save his MLA and this is wrong. Pressure was built only after the court intervened. The BJP must issue a circular to it's party workers and office bearers, however powerful they are, it is important to behave properly.

Even after their resignation the alliance remains intact. What do you feel about that?
The alliance is strong, but what about BJP's alliance with the people of this country? Those ties have been severed. People are not only fed up with them, but are also very resentful. A feeling of hatred towards them is prominent.  

The Mehbooba Mufti government is going to set up a fast track court to ensure justice for Asifa. How will this help?
These courts are a farce, they have become a joke. They are considered only when a rape of this magnitude takes place. We need to ensure speedy justice and a machanism through which rape and murder cases are solved within two months or less. The judiciary must give priority to such cases. Expedite hearings and award sentences so that the people's trust and their faith in the country's legal system is restored. More importanly send a message that even if you are from a deprived section, YOU WILL GET JUSTICE.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said that a death penalty proposal is being prepared. You think this move will discourage rapists from violating minors or those under the age of 12?
I pity Maneka Gandhi because she has woken up now. The people of India demanded death penalty during the horrific Nirbhaya gangrape also. I would urge her to act, rather than merely providing lip service. It's been four years since Modi government came into power. He would say, “bas karo naari pe vaar, abki baar Modi sarkar” (enough of atrocities against women, now Modi government will come and stop all this). But the attacks on women are still going on. This is just a jumla. What steps have been taken to protect them?

Two rape incidents in states ruled by BJP. Do you think ensuring strict action against the accused is a way by which confidence in people can be instilled?
We will have to wait and watch as it also depends on what action they take. But for now it seems that women are not at all safe in BJP's regime. People have already lost confidence in the country's ruling national party.

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