On December 16th, 2012, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped and beaten to near death on a moving bus in New Delhi. She later died.
The attack as well as her death sparked furious protests across India.
Rape is not a new issue in India. It is just a long-hidden-brushed-under-the-rug subject that this incident has thrust into the light. It can no longer be ignored.
The reaction has been huge enough to warrant a change.
However, what comes as a shock is the reaction of Indian leaders, both political and religious, on the issue. Their statements are not just shocking, but they are also quite bizarre. Especially since a general image of the Indian leadership is that of an educated, open-minded lot.
However, this has been proven wrong.
Here are the Top 10 statements that have been doing rounds in public and are enough to boggle a sane person’s mind:
10. Blaming The ‘Bihari’s’
Biharis are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group originating from the present state of Bihar, India, but a large number also migrated from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray (the nephew of Bal Thackeray) has targeted saying, "Who were the one who did this? Nobody is talking about it. Just register cases against Raj Thackeray when he speaks. And after the rape, no one will talk about all rapists being from Bihar." However, his brand of politics has largely been aimed at targeting people from the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar so this comes as no surprise.
Thankfully, an FIR will be lodged against him by the Bettiah Chief Judicial Magistrate.
9. Woman Chairperson Holds ‘Women Equally Responsible’ For Crimes Against Them
‘Women equally responsible for crimes against them’ says Vibha Rao, the chairperson of Chhattisgarh State Women Commission.
Ms. Vibha Rao says that women, influenced by western culture, send wrong signals through their dress and behavior and men often take the cue from those signals. “Women display their bodies and indulge in various obscene activities. Women are unaware of the kind of message [their actions] generate,” she said.
Coming from a woman, this was quite peculiar…
8. Because being friendly with the opposite sex is ‘asking for it’ Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi thinks that women should not go out with men other than relatives.
These are some of the statements by him:
“Women should not venture out with men who are not relatives. What is the need for roaming at night with men who are not relatives? This should be stopped.”
“I am 100 per cent of the opinion that there should be a legislation to prevent outraging modesty of women.”
“If a girl goes with her consent with him (boy friend) to a hotel and does not complain, then it is not an issue. But if the same girl goes with the boy to the hotel and no one knows what happens inside...and if the girl comes out and complains, he would be hanged.”
He also blames the Western culture and scantily-clad women. He strongly feels rape cases are on the rise due to “women wearing less clothes”.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seems to believe that as well. A few months ago, giving her reasoning for the increasing rape cases in the country, she said that rape cases are on a rise in the country because men and women interact with each other more freely now.
7. Women Should Stay Indoors At Night
“Do we roam in streets at midnight as we got Independence at midnight? It would have been better if the girl did not travel by a private bus at that time,” said Botsa Satyanarayana, a politician from Andhra Pradesh.
6. Don’t be pretty; as Pretty and Made Up Women Protesting Have No Link To Reality
According to President Pranab Mukherjee‘s son MP Abhijeet Mukherjee the women participating in the protests were “pretty women who were dented and painted”.
“This is almost like the Pink Revolution. These women who are protesting have no contact with ground reality.”
5. It’s All the West’s Fault, and Western Model Of LifestyleIs To Be Blamed
Ashok Singhal, head of Hindu organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad blames the ‘western model’ of lifestyle for growing incidents of sexual assault on women including rape, saying cities were losing the values. He termed the rising trend of western model of living as “alarming.”“This western model is alarming. What is happening is we have imbibed the US. We have lost all the values we had in cities,” he said. “It is not only foreign to our culture, but also hostile.” Virginity was preserved. But the purity has been totally disturbed (now)…we are losing it,” he added.
4. Be in your limits! Industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, speaking to reporters in Indore, said women must keep themselves within the limits of 'maryada' (morality/dignity) or face the music.
3. Stay At Home! Women Should Be Just Housewives And Husbands Should Be The Breadwinners
Prominent politician Mohan Bhagwat has created a row with his statement that a woman is bound by contract to husband to look after him.
"A husband and wife are involved in a contract under which the husband has said that you should take care of my house and I will take care of all your needs. I will keep you safe.
"So, the husband follows the contract terms. Till the time, the wife follows the contract, the husband stays with her, if the wife violates the contract, he can disown her," he said.
2. Beg Your rapists and Call them brothers to stop them… Spiritual Guru Asaram Bapu blames Delhi rape victim saying, “She should have called the culprits ‘brothers’ and begged before them to stop. Had she recited the Saraswati mantra, she would not have boarded any bus after watching a movie with her boyfriend.”
The victim’sfather was rightfully enraged and asked whether Asaram Bapu will tell women in his family to surrender to rapists, asks Delhi gangrape victim's
1. The Rape Was a Misunderstanding!
“You are referring to the Park Street rape, see that is a different case altogether that was not at all a rape case. It was a misunderstanding between the two parties involved…between a lady and her client. This was not a rape,” said Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, who is ironically an educated (gynecologist by profession) and a widely travelled woman who heads the women's wing of Trinamool Congress.
Hope for a change diminishes when one comes across such statements from people who lead the country.