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Punish Kailash Vijayvargiya for crossing his limits


Monday June 09, 2014

Kailash Vijayvargiya, Madhya Pradesh, Crime against Women  
A Cabinet Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kailash Vijayvargiya of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has stirred a fresh controversy in India by making an irresponsible remark suggesting that women must follow some moral limits to guard themselves from the inhuman instincts of man. As quoted by IBN Live, the statement he made was – ‘Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Rawan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega' (One must abide by limits. When the limits are crossed, there is a Ravan to abduct the Sita). But the question is - why the limits are for women of India only? Have the males of the country lost their sense of morality or are they empowered to do immoral acts like Ravana? Here is how Rajyasabha MP Dr T N Seema reacts to the statement made by the Minister.  
Dr T N Seema  

At a time when the whole nation is under the wave of mass protests and demanding change in the mindsets, at the least the elected representatives of the people of India should be cautious and guarded in their statements. It hurts to see that, in India, we are living in a male chauvinist society with medieval mindsets finding faults in women for crimes done against them. Who is Kailash Vijayvargiya to decide on the quantum of limits to be crossed by women that would find approval of Indian sexual criminals? It’s a shame that a state cabinet minister with so many years in politics doesnot understand the sexual and criminal assaults on women. Commenting on women has become common factor for many leaders. This is not the first time Kailash Vijayvargiya made such derogatory comments on women.


In 2012 July, on the shocking incident of the molestation of 17 year girl by the mob in Assam, he commented that women should not wear clothes which provoke others to misbehave with them. The RSS chief Mohanrao Bhagavath's statement blaming western values for increasing rapes in urban India and claims rural India is a safe place for women is totally insensitive and irresponsible.  This culture of blaming the victims and not the perpetrators of the crime is only going to encourage the latter to harass and humiliate women, hate, strip, beat and rape an innocent citizen of India. It’s a shame that women in the world's largest democracy are often subjected to taunts, insults and misogynist sexist remarks both by common men on the streets and by powerful male politicians despite having a large number of elected women representatives in the country.

The remnants of feudalism and historical patriarchy had been the evolutionary path for most human societies. While we had been evolving from those institutions through democracy and empowerment of women through equal rights, much of it remained in the theory than in the actual practice of those principles. People like Kailash Vijayvargiya are not only immature and insensitive but it is difficult for them to believe that sexual crimes thrive on a culture of tolerance and even abetment to sexual assaults. Rather, giving sincere thoughts to what kind of attitudes and tolerance encourage sexual criminals to become so fearless, If such leaders are trying to distract focus from the rapist by pointing to the victim’s dress or conduct or habits, they should not only be immediately removed from their posts for supporting rapists’ actions and for encouraging the violence against women but also should be legally punished for their statements against the Constitution of India. I strongly condemn this sort of irresponsible statements from such leaders and khap panchayats asking women directly or indirectly to change the way they eat, drink, travel, socialise, live, work etc to suit criminals.

Most sex crimes in India go unreported, many offenders go unpunished and the wheels of justice turn slowly. Successive governments have done little to ensure the safety of women across India. I have been repeatedly saying that those responsible for women’s welfare, empowerment and safety, must answer - why India is the fourth amongst the worst countries for a woman? I have been insisting to the government to declare and dedicate 2013 as the ‘Year for Women Safety’ and take serious steps towards sensitising the stake holders and to pass the pending legislations in the Parliament, including the Bills for Women’s Reservation, amendments to IPC and CrPC and Prevention of violence against women at workplaces etc., within the next three months. There is an urgent need to raise the gender consciousness of people at the national and local levels through advocacy, perspective-building and supporting struggles against violations of human rights of women. The political parties, corporates and media companies should, also, declare their gender policy.

[Dr T N Seema is a Member of Indian Parliament (Rajyasabha) and National Vice-President of All India Democratic Women's Association]


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