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A politician's rule book on how not to get raped

Last updated on: January 4, 2013 15:57 IST

Image: A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Blame the rape victim, not the rapist.

Blame her attire, her loose morals, her over-friendliness with men, her temerity of stepping out late at night, her absolutely unjustified expectations about being treated with the same respect as men are in the Indian society.  

Many of our honourable political leaders may subscribe to different ideologies and political beliefs, but they seem to share a common thought process on this serious issue: Blame the women for getting raped, not the animals who raped her.

Let us take a look at the many worthies who have shared their regressive insights -- about what Indian women should and should not do -- in the aftermath of the gruesome Delhi gangrape case:

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Tags: Delhi

A politician's rule book on how not to get raped

Women who 'breach their moral limits' deserve punishment.

Or so believes Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, whose  statement has left the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party utterly red-faced.

The senior BJP leader had stated, "Ek hi shabd hai -- Maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran hojata 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".

("There's only one word -- Limit; If you cross the limit, you face the same treatment that Sita faced in the Ramayan. If you cross the Laxman-rekha, Ravan will kidnap you like Sita.")

We are still waiting for Vijayvargiya to explain to us the exact limits a woman ought NOT to cross to avoid being kidnapped by Ravan.

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A politician's rule book on how not to get raped

Ironically, a few days ago, the BJP itself was fuming over a comment which, the party stated with righteous indignation, "was unwarranted and disrespectful to women".

This was in reaction to Congress leader Abhijeet Mukherjee's now infamous "painted and dented" comment.

In a bizarre response to wide-spread protests against the Delhi gangrape, Mukherjee had stated, "Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, (they are) sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted".

He went on to add, "Giving interviews on TV and showing off their children. I wonder whether they are students at all. What's basically happening in Delhi is something like the pink revolution, which has very little connection with ground realities".

Women who are "beautiful, painted, dented, go to discos, give interviews," are not particularly serious about the protests for which they have come out on the streets. Point taken, Mr Mukherjee.

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A politician's rule book on how not to get raped

A 23-year-old woman was raped repeatedly, violated with an iron rod, stripped and thrown off a moving bus.

When he heard about the incident, the only question in the mind of Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana was, "Why was she roaming outside late in the night"?

He did not seem to be particularly concerned about the condition of the victim, who died a few days later, or how extremely unsafe the national capital was for women.

Satyanarayana shared more nuggets of wisdom, "Do we roam in streets at midnight as we got Independence at midnight? It would have been better if the girl did not travel by a private bus at that time".

And while on the subject of misuse of private buses, Satyanarayana was last in the news for the incredibly lavish wedding of his daughter, when he had allegedly abused his position as the state transport minister to use government buses to ferry wedding guests.

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A politician's rule book on how not to get raped

It would be unfair to blame only men for making sexist comments, especially since a distinguished woman leader also finds a mention in this coveted list.

Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, a Trinamool Congress leader and the latest entrant in the blame-the-rape-victim coterie, insinuated that the victim of the Park Street rape case was, in fact, a prostitute.

The women had been gangraped by some men she had earlier met at a nightclub at Park Street after she accepted a lift from one of them.

Reacting to the incident with great sensitivity and understanding, Ghosh Dastidar said, "If you are referring to the Park Street rape, see that is a different case altogether, that was not at all a rape case. It was a misunderstanding between the two parties involved...between a lady and her client. This was not a rape."

Ghosh Dastidar was only following in the footsteps of her trendsetting party chief Mamata Banerjee, who had termed the rape case a "political conspiracy" by her opponents.

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A politician's rule book on how not to get raped

"Women should not go out late at night".

Or so believes Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

Kumar is the chief of the most ineffective police force imaginable. He is not a politician, but he could very well be one.

He fails to fulfill his basic duties, he tries to cover up his lapses with excuses and smooth talk, he refuses to quit in spite of vociferous demands to do so, he promises slapdash measures to keep his post and when all else fails, he uses force to quell public anger.

And somewhere amidst so much activity, he finds the time to preach the "Don't go out late in the night to avoid getting raped," philosophy.

How about doing what you are paid to do Mr Kumar, for a change?

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