Ujjain horror: Congress questions silence of PM Modi, home minister Amit Shah, NCW, NCPCR & others
Outrage over the Ujjain sexual assault of a disabled minor continues, with demands for accountability and action from the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh
The Indian National Congress slammed the BJP-led state government in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, 29 September, over the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in Ujjain, alleging that the state tops the chart in the country for crimes against women and girls.
The Congress also questioned the silence of prime minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah and the commissions for women and child rights on the incident.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate alleged that the law-and-order situation in Madhya Pradesh has considerably deteriorated under chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and that being a woman, especially from the Dalit or tribal community, is tantamount to a sin there.
"In Madhya Pradesh, being a Dalit, tribal and woman has become a sin. Madhya Pradesh is number one in rapes of minors — 58,000 rape cases and 68,000 kidnapping cases have been reported in 18 years of (Chouhan's) rule. But the country's prime minister, home minister and all the BJP leaders are just sitting silent," Shrinate said at a press briefing.
"Why is the chief minister silent on the brutal incident against the 12-year-old girl in Ujjain? Because the girl is a resident of Satna and comes from a Dalit family. She was falsely being described as a mentally disturbed beggar from Uttar Pradesh. When she did not return home from school, her family went to the Satna police station. They were asked to leave and find their daughter themselves. 'We will not file an FIR,' they were told," the Congress leader said.
She alleged that several days have passed since the incident, but not a single BJP leader has gone to inquire about the condition of the girl.
"A Dalit girl was raped, an attempt was made to call her mentally unsound and a beggar... but not a single word came out of the mouth of the prime minister and the home minister of the country," Shrinate said.
She also questioned the silence of women and child development minister Smriti Irani, the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) over the incident.
Shrinate said the gruesome crime against the 12-year-old girl has shocked the collective conscience of the country. But the reality, she alleged, is that the BJP government in the state has been absolutely silent on it.
Shrinate also critcised the police, saying it had now come to light that it all happened "because the police was callous, careless and — may I dare say — a part of this entire crime against this little girl".
The Congress leader claimed that the victim in the Ujjain incident was not from Uttar Pradesh, neither a beggar, and possesses an absolutely sound mind. "Yet every attempt was made to say she was from Uttar Pradesh, she had ventured into Madhya Pradesh, she was a beggar, she was begging in Ujjain and that she was not of sound mind.
"The reality is that she is a student. She is from Satna, which is 700 km from Ujjain. How did she reach there? It takes 13 hours to travel by road.
"The reality is also that once she went missing from school, her family went to the Satna police, (who) refused to file an FIR for 24 hours. They refused to track the CCTV cameras. Had they done that, this could have been prevented. Had the Ujjain Police tracked the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System, they would have found out about a girl missing from Satna being found in Ujjain," she said.
"Why is the chief minister quiet? What is the home minister of Madhya Pradesh doing? (BJP leader) Kailash Vijayvargiya stays a kilometre away from the hospital in which (the victim) is admitted; why can they not go and find out? This is absolute jungle raj, an absolute breakdown and collapse of law and order as far as Dalits, tribals and women in Madhya Pradesh are concerned," Shrinate continued.
She alleged that Chouhan has time to travel in helicopters to campaign for elections and for advertisements, he has time to organise a 'Karyakarta Mahakumbh', "but as far as the women in Madhya Pradesh (are) concerned, it is a travesty, it is a tragedy to be a woman in that state".
"The prime minister is conspicuously quiet like always," the Congress leader continued. "The home minister never talks about women and, in fact, gives political patronage to people like Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who do crime against women. The women and child development minister, we all know, only opens her mouth while she is speaking against Rahul Gandhi. What about the NCW? What about the NCPCR? When are they going to speak up?" the Congress leader asked.
She said the reality is that the chief minister and the home minister have completely failed and women in Madhya Pradesh, particularly if they are from the Dalit or tribal community, are not safe.
Shrinate was also critical of the civil society response, saying that there is no outrage as the victim in the Ujjain incident is a Dalit child and that is why police are looking the other way.