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BJP Leader’s Sickening Logic Blames Hathras Girl’s Character For Rape, Says Such Women Always Found In Fields For A Reason

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You now the ‘Florida man’ joke? It is a viral internet meme, based off of actual news headlines, about how Florida’s male residents are supposedly notorious for doing really strange and unusual things. You can actually search for ‘Florida man’ and your ‘birth date’ on the Internet, and you’re likely to find at least one news item hit about a Florida man who did something ridiculous on that day. Well, I have this theory, okay, that the same will soon be applicable to the phrase ‘BJP leader/MLA’. The sheer amount of horrendous, ridiculous, nonsensical, illogical, and sickening statements that I’ve heard them make in the past year itself qualifies them for this honour. The most recent is a video of Barabanki BJP leader Ranjeet Bahadur Shrivastav. In the video, he doesn’t just assassinate the Hathras rape victim’s character, but he also insults women in general, blaming them for rape.

I know there are a lot of sickening things on the Internet, including all the stuff on the dark web. But what I heard in this video drove me to the end of my tether. In the video, Shrivastav says that the girl probably was in the field of her own volition, to meet a boy. He goes on to imply that her death was an honour killing. The character assassination, though disgusting, didn’t surprise me. Just days ago, another BJP MLA (you see my point now?) said parents should teach sanskaar to their daughters to stop rapes. So, yeah. Not shocking. The true height of repugnance was reached when Shrivastav explains why rape victims are always found in the fields.

“Such girls are found dead in only some places. They will be found dead in sugarcane, corn and millet fields or in bushes, gutters or forests. Why are they never found dead in paddy or wheat fields? And they’re never dragged anywhere else? Nobody sees them being dragged to another place? This should be a subject of investigation. I haven’t said anything wrong.”

 

Pretty much a week ago, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and his government was planning to name and shame those who commit crimes against women, on public billboards. The irony coming in the wake of this situation is that not only was the Hathras rape victim and her family reportedly denied basic dignity and justice, BJP leaders are actually stepping up to defend the men who allegedly raped the Dalit girl. That’s a laurel in the hat of the UP government right there. I’m waiting with peeled eyes for the billboards to appear, naming the accused as well as these politicos for the utter disrespect they’ve done to women of the country with their remarks.

For now, I’m glad that Rekha Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken cognizance of this video and assured that she would be filing a complaint against this man.

Also Read: Rape. Domestic Abuse. Violence. The Crimes Against Women In Our Country Are Increasing At An Alarming Rate. Even The UN Is Worried

Watching this video stunned me for a solid five minutes. I didn’t know what to say, how to react, how to put my white hot rage into words. Would words even be enough? I knew if I tweeted something graphic and articulate, I’d probably be trolled and abused for it. Maybe even arrested these days, who knows? I couldn’t imagine what the victim’s family, other rape survivors, other women would’ve felt when they heard this. Here was a man, a political leader elected by us, with reportedly 44 criminal cases against him, trying to justify a heinous crime like rape with such nonchalance. I felt anger. I wanted to clap back, write something savage, hurt his argument. But what could I do?

To quote a king from one of my favourite stories, as he prepared for battle against a ruthless enemy, what can women do against such reckless hate? Against a culture that does not allow women dignity even in death. Not that that would be of much use, because she should’ve gotten it when she was alive….

And then I realised, these weren’t one puny man’s views, were they? From upper caste leaders, to those claiming to protect the sanctity of our Indian culture, to people like former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju…. With every new rape case reported, the justifications for why men rape seem to be piling on faster than our judiciary can convict a rapist! Sure, the nation is in uproar over this, over the rape statistics of our Mother India. But there are still those who couldn’t care less, who’d brush it all off, laugh at it, as if the violent deaths of women was just collateral damage in raising a stereotypical Bharatiya Mard!

Also Read: Ex SC Judge Markandey Katju Claims He Isn’t Justifying Rape But Says Sex Is A Natural Need. The Man Needs To Shut Up

Even the United Nations is sounding the alarm bells. UN India commented on the Hathras rape incident and the flaw in India’s glorious plans for a safe future for its women. “The recent cases of alleged rape and murder in Hathras and Balarampur are another reminder that despite the impressive progress made on a number of social indicators, women and girls from disadvantaged social groups face additional vulnerabilities and are at greater risk of gender-based violence.”

“The steps being taken by the Government of India to strengthen safety measures for women and girls are welcome and urgent. We support the Prime Minister’s call for strict action against the culprits. Entrenched social norms and behaviour of men and boys that lead to gender-based violence must be addressed.”

But would you look at us, we’re so in denial that we’re shushing them down! The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava responded, “Some unwarranted comments have been made by the UN resident coordinator regarding some recent cases of violence against women. The UN resident coordinator in India should be aware that these cases have been taken extremely seriously by the government. Since the investigation process is still underway, any unnecessary comments by an external agency are best avoided. The Constitution guarantees equality to all citizens of India. As a democracy, we have a time-tested record of providing justice to all sections of our society.”

This lightened the mood for me a bit, you know. Because it’s hilarious. Not as hilarious as the claims that the a rape is being used as an international ploy to malign the reputation of the UP government. But still it cracked me up for the sheer denial that is in this statement. Are we really going to save face by claiming that everything is being done to protect our women when our rape stats say that we’re averaging at 87 rapes a day? And those are just the ones reported. Are we not going to address the elephant in the room? That our political representation comes from a generation of men and women raised on a staple diet of patriarchy and indoctrinated with misogyny?

Because if we don’t call these men out, uproot them from our governance, punish the perps and raise our boys to be better men, we deserve all the criticism and shame we get.

 

Also Read: Our National Data Of Crimes In 2019 Has Recorded 87 Rape Cases On An Average Per Day. This Is Extremely Alarming

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