A characteristic feature of Indian politics is blame game. Whenever any relevant issues are brought to light, whenever an attempt is made to find solutions to the many problems plaguing our nation the first and foremost step taken is to pinpoint fingers at each other.
Political parties are quick to accuse each other of a huge list of things which, ironically, they themselves repeat from time to time. This can especially be seen in the case of any government in power and the respective opposition. In a parliamentary form of government, the role of the opposition is to scrutinize the government in a fair and unbiased manner and thus, to prevent it from taking a negative stride.
However, more often than desired, the opposition criticises the government in the most ruthless and exaggerated way possible and the aim is just to disillusion the people, though the criticism is often justified and not always exaggerated.
We saw the BJP doing this when the Congress was in power until May 2014, though not all their criticisms were exaggerated. But nonetheless, the BJP was a very active opposition party and was quiet vocal about its displeasure with the policies of the then government, particularly on issues of women’s security.
When in 2012, the horrendous Nirbhaya incident had occurred, the BJP had slammed the Congress for neglecting the issue of women’s safety. Slogans like “Bahaut hua nai par atyachar, ab kee bar Modi sarkar” (“Enough of atrocities against women; let’s have a Modi government this time around”) were raised by the BJP during the election campaign.
While it is fine that parties pinpoint fingers at each other all the time, it is only reasonable to expect that the BJP would definitely work for the things it heavily criticized the Congress for neglecting.
Sadly though, the situation of crimes against women in our country has only deteriorated. Delhi, where the police is under the central government, saw a 20% rise of crimes against women in 2015 and is apparently showing no signs of improvement, and the picture isn’t great in many BJP-ruled states either. It may also be noted that while Modi was given much credit for women’s safery in Gujarat when he was the chief minister of that state, Gujarat had never particularly, on the whole, been very unsafe for women even before Modi’s tenure, and Modi’s tenure there did see a rise, not fall, of rapes.
Coming back to the current scenario, a reduction of countrywide centres to help rape victims deal with their trauma by about 95% certainly does not bode well in terms of the sincerity of the government in dealing with this rather sensitive issue. Incidents like Arun Jaitley calling a rape a “small incident” that made India lose out on a lot of tourism revenue only work towards damaging the reputation of the government are making people insecure about the government’s priority for issues like women’s safety, as do statements of home ministers of BJP-ruled states like Babulal Gaur of Madhya Pradesh saying that rape can sometimes be right and Ramsevak Paitra of Chhattisgarh saying that rape happens by mistake. Repeated rapes of minors in the national capital which are followed by no strong action by the government do the same. When BJP MLAs in Delhi stage a walk out from the Legislative Assembly during discussions of forming an inquiry commission to address the crime against women, the feelings of mistrust and insecurity aggravate among the people. When the Delhi High Court pulls up the Central government for causing unnecessary delay in deploying additional police force for the national capital, it demonstrates lack of consideration on the part of the government. And it doesn’t help when BJP spokespersons blamed the Congress for crimes against women but wish to evade any responsibility now, shifting the blame on the society as a whole (but not doing so when the Congress was in power), as one BJP spokesman tried to do on Arnab Goswami’s show once. However, while the AAP government in Delhi doesn’t control the police, it has also been a little slow in fully implementing its promises of CCTV cameras in buses and better street lighting across Delhi, though some progress has been made.
Having said that, I completely agree with the fact that governments alone cannot change the position of women in our country overnight. However, the government has the responsibility to ensure that action is taken speedily and efficiently whenever a crime is reported, that there are enough facilities available in the form of help lines and man-power to prevent crimes and that the issue of women’s security is made a top priority and enough funds are allocated for the same.
The ruling party at the centre which claims to very staunchly stand for the development of India should realize that our nation cannot ever truly develop without our women being given a secure climate.
(Image Courtesy: Flickr)