New Delhi: From the shocking rape and murder of Telangana veterinary doctor, to the ‘encounter’ killing of the four convicts, to Supreme Court finally sentencing Nirbhaya rape accused to death, not one day goes by without coming across such events in a newspaper or television news channel. It is enough to make us as Indian citizens ponder where the country is headed.
Amid nationwide protests for justice against rape and sexual harassment, there were some instances where eminent personalities and politicians made absurd remarks trivialising rape and sexual violence.
Here are some of the most bizarre comments made by powerful Indians on rape:
1. Rahul Gandhi
One of the most recent incidents, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi started a row with a rather insensitive remark deliberately changing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ tag to “Rape in India”. Addressing a poll rally in Godda, Jharkhand, Rahul Gandhi said, “Narendra Modi had said ‘Make in India’ but nowadays wherever you look, it is ‘Rape in India’. In Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi’s MLA raped a woman, then she met with an accident but Narendra Modi did not utter a word.”
Gandhi’s remark was a repetition of a comment made by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary in Lok Sabha where he slammed PM Modi for remaining silent on crimes against women. “Unfortunate that Prime Minister who speaks on everything is silent on this issue (crimes against women). From ‘Make in India’, India is slowly heading towards ‘rape in India’,” he had said.
2. Mohammad Mahmood Ali
Telangana state Home Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali made an extremely insensitive statement shortly after a charred body of a young veterinary doctor was discovered in an underpass in Telangana’s Rangareddy district.
On being asked to comment on the incident, the Telangana minister kicked up a storm as he asked why the woman did not dial-up 100 for police, instead of calling her sister. “This is an unfortunate incident. But why didn’t she call up 100? She was an educated woman,” he had said. Social media users blasted the minister calling his comment insensitive at such a time.
3. Sheila Dikshit
In an interview with Mirror Now in May, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who passed away this year, made an absurd statement in connection with the Nirbhaya gangrape and said that the incident was “blown out of proportion” by the media. “There are so many cases like this taking place today…Sometimes you ignore rapes as just a little thing in the newspaper…and one was made into a political scandal,” she had said.
Subsequently, the late Congress leader attempted to wash her hands off the law and order situation in the national capital, alleging that it was under the purview of the Central government.
4. Daniel Shravan
At a time when the entire nation was boiling over the gruesome gangrape and murder of the Telangana veterinary doctor, self-proclaimed filmmaker Daniel Shravan gave a sickening advice to women to tackle situations like rape and sexual assault.
In his now-deleted Facebook post, Shravan suggested that instead of calling for police help, women should carry condoms and save themselves from the fate of murder and when women are assaulted by rapists, they should cooperate in the act and offer the rapist a condom, so that they are not killed afterwards.
Not just that, he went on to make statements encouraging the government to legalize “Rape Without Violence”. His bizarre comment infuriated netizens as screenshots of his remark with angry responses exploded on social media platforms.
5. Bhanwarlal Meghwal
Just a day after Daniel Shravan’s outrageous comment, Congress leader and Minister of Social Welfare of Rajasthan Bhanwarlal Meghwal said that there were no rapes before TVs and mobiles were invented. Speaking to the media in Jaipur amid nationwide agitation over the Telangana rape case, he said, “Now youngsters are moving towards wrong trends by looking at the mobile and TV.”
Logic put aside, his comment on rape crimes was not just sexist, it was completely incomprehensible. A similar statement was made by a Haryana khap leader months before the Delhi gangrape as he said Chinese fast-food ‘Chowmein’ was the cause of rape.