Tall claims of the Manohar Lal Khattar government in checking rising incidence of crimes against women have fallen flat after 10 cases of rapes/crimes against women have been reported in last two weeks. A spurt in crime against women and rise in rape cases has not only put the BJP government in the dock but also raised larger questions over the safety and security of women in BJP-ruled states.
In a latest case of crime, a woman was allegedly raped while her husband and brother-law-in were held at gun-point at Sector-56 in Gurugram. In the complaint, the woman said before fleeing, the accused threatened her husband and brother-in-law with dire consequences.
Though Haryana police claimed to have arrested four persons on Monday, the state Opposition claimed that the lacklustre response from the bureaucracy and the mind-set of the ruling party has aggravated the situation on the ground. Former leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Jagmati Sangwan said that women have become more vulnerable in Khattar’s regime. “Ever since BJP has come to the power, incidents of rape and crime against women is on the rise. Many schemes related to women security have been closed by the Khattar government. Instead of creating a safe and secure environment for the women, BJP government is busy with organising Geeta Mahotsav. It shows clearly that women’s safety is not their priority.”
Barely a few days ago, on Friday, a minor girl was allegedly gang-raped by three men in a moving car in Faridabad. According to media reports, the girl was walking to a field with her aunt when the men abducted her. A case however was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, but it is not enough, said the main Opposition party, the Congress. Demanding the dismissal of Khattar government in Haryana, chief of Mahila Congress Sushmita Dev had said in a press conference in Delhi, “The law and order situation in Haryana is in a dismal state. It is indeed looking like the rape capital of the country.
What is shocking is the attitude of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and the additional director general of police RC Mishra. The Chief Minister is focussed on making political statements and playing political games instead of preventing such crimes.” Taking the issue a step further, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda submitted a memorandum to the Governor on Wednesday and sought the imposition of President’s Rule in the state. After criticism from all corners, CM Khattar gave an assurance to enact a law providing capital punishment to those found guilty but his statement apparently did not make any impact. The spate of sexual violence continued against women. Important to note that addressing a rally in Karnal on Saturday, Khattar said that the state government would make a request for setting up fast-track courts to deal with rape cases to ensure speedy justice to victims, but social activists and the Opposition leaders feel that the CM’s promise is just another eyewash.
While incidents of rape and crime against women increased in general, Dalits have been the worst causality. Media reports suggest that Dalit women have been the victims in most of these horrifying incidents of rape and murder. The brutal murder of a Dalit girl after rape in Jind has brought the caste dynamics of the crime against women at the centre stage, feel social activist and president of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) Kavita Krishnan.
Talking to National Herald, she said that the spurt in crime against women and Dalits in Haryana should be seen together. “It is a societal thing, which comes from the deep rooted feudal mind set and patriarchy.
Crime against Dalits and women is not a new thing in the state. Even in the time of the Congress rule, atrocities against Dalits and women were not stopped. The only difference is that while the Congress refrained from showcasing such regressive things, BJP displayed it as a badge of honour,” said Krishnan. Referring to a controversial advertisement published in Krishi Samvad, a supplement of the Haryana government, Krishnan said, “What can you expect from a government which describes a veiled woman as the identity of the state?” Killing of folk singer Mamta Sharma highlighted a different aspect of crimes against women in the state which has the worst sex ratio in the country. “Sharma was not an ordinary woman. She was a known face but the way she was killed shows that criminals do not fear the law enforcement agencies,” said a local journalist on the condition of anonymity. Sharma was found dead with her throat slit in the fields of Baniyani village. Baniyani is the village where Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar comes from.
Sharma’s death comes just three months after unidentified men had killed another folk singer, Harshita Dahiya, in Panipat district. Social scientists feel that while crimes against women and Dalits is a systemic problem but it is worse in BJP-ruled states because the political philosophy of the BJP, essentially supports patriarchy and upper caste rule. “Their philosophy has been subscribed from the Manu Smriti. They may not publicly endorse it but wherever, whenever they get a chance, they try to impose it,” said former IG Police and Convener, Jan Manch, Uttar Pradesh, SR Darapuri.