Under duress, BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya has withdrawn his misogynistic remarks on women. Vijayvargiya had said, “Ek hi shabd hai — Maryada. 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 Ravan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega. (One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana).”
No sooner the remark invited criticism, the BJP had made it clear that the party rejects its minister’s opinion. “The party does not approve of the remarks and dissociates itself from it. The party has asked him to kindly withdraw the remarks,” said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
In India, not Bharat
Vijayvargiya’s remark added to the controversy created by Mohan Bagwat, the chief of the RSS, which is the BJP’s ideological mentor. Yesterday, Bhagwat said that that crimes such as rape “hardly take place in Bharat, but they occur frequently in India”.
“You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang rape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values,” Bhagwat said.
Following the RSS chief’s remark, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said there is no basis for making distinction between India and Bharat. “There is no basis for making distinction between India and Bharat,” Singh said when asked to comment on Bhagwat’s remark.
The RSS chief’s controversial remark comes days after the December 29 death of the young Delhi woman due to grievous injuries she sustained during her torture by the rapists on December 16.
Criticising Bhagwat’s comment, CPI-M leader Brinda Karat said, “He does not know India or Bharat and the largest number of rapes occur in rural areas”. The Dalits and Adivasis are the ones who mostly get raped, she added.
Karat said that RSS chief’s comment is a “reflection of his mentality” of “turning his face away from reality”. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said the comment of Bhagwat “was a reflection of their mentality. Rapes can happen anywhere. Rapes should be stopped and the strictest punishment should be meted out to the perpetrators.”
Singh was also of the opinion that the right to appeal of rape convicts should be restricted. He added that age limit for juvenile delinquency should be lowered. “Nowadays children are more aware, they have access to TV, Internet... so much that children of 12-14 understand all facts,” he said.
However, the BJP said Bhagwat’s comments “should be put in perspective... “He was referring to India’s sanskar and tradition and respect for women,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Pepper spray sales soar in the Capital After the heinous attack on a physiotherapy intern in Delhi, pepper sprays are flying off the shelves with more and more women taking their security in their own hands. Pepper spray dealers said there is a whopping increase in the sales of pepper sprays in the past few weeks. “Usually we sell about 10 to 20 cans per month. But after the Dec 16 incident, I’m selling almost 50 pepper spray cans everyday,” Manish Mitra, a dealer, said. “Lots of inquiries are pouring in and there are also bulk order from offices, particularly BPOs in the National Capital Region,” he added.
A normal pepper spray can usually has 35 grams of pepper and expires after three years.
It is just not young working women who are relying heavily on pepper sprays for their safety. Many companies are also making bulk orders to instill security in their women employees who work late in the night. Even police said they have no problem with women carrying knives, chilli powder or sprays to defend themselves.