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If it is beyond some of our political worthies to be sensitive or sympathetic to the plight of women who have been subjected to sexual violence, the least they can do is keep quiet. But, on the contrary, they feel the need to air their ghastly views publicly, exacerbating an already grim situation.
The latest to join the long line of politicians who have aired their revolting opinions on the growing incidence of rapes is Madhya Pradesh home minister Babulal Gaur, who says that “rape is sometimes right, sometimes, it is wrong.” For some reason unknown to all sane people, Mr Gaur felt it necessary to defend the pusillanimous attitude of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has explained away the heinous rapes in his state saying that a “Google search will show Badaun-type incidents in other places too”. This is of a piece with a long list of highly offensive remarks about rapes made by his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav and some of his ministers.
The comments made by Mr Gaur, who is home minister in BJP-run Madhya Pradesh, should be a matter of concern to the chief minister of the state, who is one of the stars in the party’s pantheon. Three cases of rape have also come to light in BJP-ruled Rajasthan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is not known to brook any prevaricating, must make his anger known to the leaders in the states run by his party. Mr Gaur’s views cannot be explained away as being personal. The BJP has been selling itself as an inclusive and modern party. In which case, such remarks and those who make them have no place in it.
We have long been advocating a change in social mindset. But such things come at their own pace. In fact, the ugly remarks made by the likes of Mr Gaur and Messrs Yadav could well be taken as licence by lumpen elements to harass women in their states. But, whatever their misguided views, the least these elected officials should ensure is that the culprits are brought to book. Once they realise that they cannot get away with perpetrating violence on women, such incidents will come down. But for that the administration must show some spine. The Union home minister should crack the whip on the administrations at least in the states run by the BJP.