Fighting with its back against the wall on crime against women after a horrific video of two women being paraded naked in Manipur went viral, the BJP today pointed towards Congress-ruled Rajasthan and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over recent incidents of crime against women in the western state. Union minister Anurag Thakur, quoting official data, said Rajasthan ranks highest in rape cases. “22 per cent of women’s rape cases in a year happened in Rajasthan,” he said.
“Any crime against women is crime, and outrage can’t depend on which government is in place,” Mr Thakur said, and asked the opposition if they will send teams to Bengal, Bihar, and Rajasthan, where such crimes have been reported recently.
After data from the National Crime Records Bureau last year showed that Rajasthan had the highest rape cases among states, Ashok Gehlot had attributed the numbers to a compulsory FIR registration policy while claiming that 56 per cent of cases of crime against women in the state had later turned out to be false.
On Manipur, the minister said the government is ready to discuss the issue in the Parliament, and accused opposition parties of “running away” from a discussion.
“Manipur used to have six month long strikes when UPA was in power. We have done everything possible in Manipur, the Home Minister himself was there for four days. I want to ask the opposition what is the reason that they are running away from discussion. Is this because one of the opposition leaders has been disqualified, and you don’t want the parliament to function,” he said, referring to former Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification after conviction and sentencing in a defamation case.
Mr Thakur, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first remark on Manipur after around 80 days of ethnic violence, said that Chief Ministers cannot run away from their responsibilities.
The union minister slammed Ashok Gehlot for removing Minister of State Rajendra Singh Gudha from the Council of Ministers after he questioned his own government’s success in controlling crimes against women.
In his address at the state assembly, Rajendra Singh Gudha had said, “It is true and should be accepted that we have failed in women’s safety. Instead of Manipur, we should look within ourselves why atrocities on women have increased in Rajasthan.”
Mr Gudha made the comments just a day after PM Modi had mentioned Rajasthan while expressing anguish and anger over the horrific video from Manipur.
“Why are Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi silent on (Rajasthan minister) Shanti Dhariwal’s comments regarding sexual crimes against women in Rajasthan,” Mr Thakur said.
He further cited recent cases from Rajasthan’s Karauli, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Udaipur.
“Why are their lips sealed on violence in West Bengal? The humiliation of women in both Howrah and Malda are shocking. Where is ‘Mamataji ki Mamata’ (Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s motherly love)?” he said.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, also accusing the opposition of not wanting to discuss the issue on the floor of the Parliament, said what is “extremely alarming” is that a Rajasthan minister yesterday spoke up on crime against women in the state, but was unceremoniously dismissed by the Congress.
“Equally shocking is a video that is emanating from West Bengal’s Malda where two Dalit women are being beaten & stripped. Congress did not want to hear the truth about atrocities against women in the state of Rajasthan…Congress is a mute spectator to the killings of people during the West Bengal Panchayat elections all because it is hungry for collaboration with TMC,” she said.
#WATCH | Mumbai: Union Minister Smriti Irani says, “This (Manipur viral video) issue is not only sensitive but has implications with regard to national security and is known to the opposition leaders. However, the opposition did not want to discuss the issue on the floor of the… pic.twitter.com/qMLsFQGXK1
— ANI (@ANI) July 22, 2023
Amid accusations of inaction on crimes against women, Ashok Gehlot launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of refraining from visiting violence-hit Manipur.
“For the first time, I have seen that a Prime Minister is visiting Karnataka, Rajasthan and other places for elections, but not Manipur. It is his government in Manipur, just imagine what would he have said if it was a Congress government there,” he said while speaking to the media at his residence in Jaipur.
On PM Modi allegedly making a reference to incidents in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh while commenting on the video of women being paraded naked and assaulted in Manipur, Ashok Gehlot said his remark has hurt the sentiments of Rajasthan.
“The way Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the CMs of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh should take care of the law and order situation in their state, it has hurt the sentiments of Rajasthan,” Mr Gehlot said.
Breaking his silence on the situation in Manipur, the PM has said it’s a shameful incident for any society.
“Who did this and who is responsible is another issue, but this has put our nation to shame. I appeal to all chief ministers to tighten law and order. Whether it is Rajasthan, Chattisgarh or Manipur…the issue of a woman’s honour is above all politics,” PM Modi said.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge hit out at the PM and accused him of making a “false equivalence”.
You did not make a statement inside the Parliament, yesterday.
If you were angry then instead of making false equivalence with Congress governed states, you could have first dismissed your Chief Minster of Manipur.
INDIA expects you to make an elaborate…
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) July 21, 2023
“If you were angry then instead of making false equivalence with Congress governed states, you could have first dismissed your Chief Minster of Manipur,” he tweeted.