Which states did you visit in last two months? Alka Lamba challenges Smriti Irani

Mahila Congress president also alleges that merely 30 per cent of the Nirbhaya Fund has been utilised in over a decade

Mahila Congress president Alka Lamba at the press meet (photo: Vipin/ National Herald)
Mahila Congress president Alka Lamba at the press meet (photo: Vipin/ National Herald)

NH Political Bureau

In a strongly worded statement on the eve of International Women's Day, Mahila Congress president Alka Lamba has accused the BJP-led Union government of "sitting coiled up" on the Nirbhaya Fund, formed in 2012 by the Manmohan Singh government following the horrific gangrape and death in Delhi of the woman who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (the fearless).

"The BJP government gives the hollow slogan of beti bachao (save the girl child)," Lamba said. "In the last 60 days, my Mahila Congress colleagues visited 20 states. I challenge the country's women and child development minister Smriti Irani, chairperson of the National Women's Commission, and chairperson of the BJP Mahila Morcha... can you tell me which states you have visited in the last two months? How many victims did you meet? How many did you give justice to?

"All three are silent on crimes against women, because those who commit crimes against daughters either have the protection of those in power, or are partners in power," Lamba said, addressing a press conference in Delhi on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Irani announced a grant from the Nirbhaya Fund for women's hostels in Delhi University, according to a university statement. Irani made the announcement while attending the Vikas Bharat Ambassador-Nari Shakti Conclave at Delhi University's north campus. About 5,000 girl students from various institutions of Delhi University participated in the event.

At the press conference, Lamba said, "The Congress government at the Centre created the Nirbhaya Fund in 2012, and the perpetrators were hanged. But even after 10 years, not even 30 per cent of the Nirbhaya Fund has been spent. Where was it supposed to go?"

In December 2022, it had come to light that some of the vehicles procured by Mumbai Police earlier in the year under the Nirbhaya Fund to fight crimes against women were being used to provide Y-plus security to MLAs and MPs of the Shiv Sena faction led by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, who heads a BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government.

The women's cell chief referred to multiple recent instances of crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — including rape and murder — and said, "They (BJP) came to power in Rajasthan saying women were being tortured, but crime (against women) is at its peak everywhere. During my tour of 20 states, I not only met the victims but also their fathers and brothers who are seeking justice for their sisters and daughters. It’s been years since they are waiting for justice.”

In an X post earlier on Thursday, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, alleging that "being a woman has become a crime in this jungle raj", referring to the incident of two underage victims of gangrape dying by suicide in Kanpur, and their father's subsequent decision to end his life too.

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