BJP attacks Rajasthan govt over ‘auctioning of girls’
The Congress has accused the BJP of maligning the image of the state, as chief minister Ashok Gehlot assured a proper probe into the matter.
Jaipur: A news report alleging “auctioning of girls” and “rape of women” for settling financial disputes in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district triggered a political row on Friday after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) warned the ruling Congress against “anarchy and jungle raj” in the state.
The Congress accused the BJP of maligning the image of the state, as chief minister Ashok Gehlot assured a proper probe into the matter.
Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar on October 26 had reported that girls aged between eight and 18 years in Bhilwara district are “auctioned to recover money” in monetary disputes and are sold following formal agreements on stamp paper. In some cases, their “mothers are raped” on diktats of village caste panchayats, it said.
The report also cited a purported incident wherein a man was forced to sell his sister first and then his 12-year-old daughter to settle a ₹15 lakh debt.
Bhilwara district collector Ashish Modi said the case dates back to 2019 and several people were arrested.
On Friday, Gehlot assured to conduct a proper probe into the matter.
“We have received this information. Teams have been deployed to investigate everything. We will make sure a proper probe is done. No one will be spared,” he told reporters while campaigning for the party in Gujarat’s Vadodara ahead of the assembly elections in the state.
The BJP, however, attacked the state government over the report, saying such instances reminded one of the Taliban.
“Under the Congress government in Rajasthan, girls are being sold in the markets, which is a heinous crime. If we compare such incidents, they happen under the Taliban rule and in Syria-Iraq. There too, the innocent girls are made slaves. Such incidents are reported from half-a-dozen districts in Rajasthan,” BJP national spokesperson Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told reporters at the party office here.
Rajasthan tops the country in terms of crime against women, he said. “Around 400 daughters are going missing in Rajasthan in a month. The Congress government of Rajasthan is silent on this,” he said.
“This anarchy and jungle raj which is going on in Rajasthan is unbearable. The BJP warns the Congress government and all those responsible for this that we will not tolerate this,” he added.
Hitting back, the Congress said the state government takes any crime against women seriously.
“The Rajasthan government takes any crime against women seriously. Our government only focuses on encouraging the girls. Rajasthan is a pioneer with schemes such as Udaan (promoting free sanitary napkins to women and girls),” cabinet minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said.
“The girls aren’t sold in Rajasthan. Mothers, daughters and sisters are worshipped here. It is unfortunate to see BJP leaders maligning the image of their own state,” he added.
He also said that police are investigating the case.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has formed a two-member fact-finding committee and the Rajasthan state women commission sought a report on the allegations.
The NCW called the purported crimes “extremely appalling and traumatising”. “The Commission has taken cognizance of the reported crime which is extremely appalling and traumatising. The Commission has constituted a two member Fact Finding Team to look into the matter. Chairperson Ms Rekha Sharma has written to Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan to take urgent action in the matter and apprise the Commission of the action taken,” it said in a statement on Friday.
Sharma tweeted that the committee will reach Bhilwara on Friday evening.
The state women commission wrote to the district collector and superintendent of police (SP) and sought a report in seven days.
“Through the newspaper, we have come to know that girls are being sold, what could be a more heinous crime than this. We assure swift action on this matter and justice will be delivered,” commission chairperson Rehana Riyaz said.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued a notice to the state government and sought a detailed action taken report within four weeks from the chief secretary. “If true (the allegations), the contents of the report amount to human rights violation,” it said.
Bhilwara district collector Ashish Modi, however, said the case dates back to 2019.
“A factual report is being sent by the SP. It is an old issue of 2019, where around two dozen people were arrested,” he said.