ince Article 370 got scrapped, with this bold decision of the Prime Minister, his ministers are passing even bolder comments. A statement regarding Kashmiri women from a senior BJP leader has displayed the mindset towards women at large. They are either aiming for land or the ladies of Kashmir. In open speeches, it has been cleared by saying that now we will bring girls from Kashmir. Unfortunately, no one really objected to this. PM Modi Ji came into power with the “Beti Bachao (Save Girl Child)” slogan but his ministers misunderstood it as “Beti Bech Aao” and they are attacking the dignity of a woman.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bid that the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A which is supposed to bring “new era of development” in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be drowned out by male chauvinist statements regarding Kashmiri women from his own party colleagues. Most recent in the line of misogynistic offenders is Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. He should know that Haryana is the most unsafe place for girls; the rape rate is so high in the state and so far, the Chief Minister failed to address these issues. Patriarchy, popular culture, unemployment, arrogance, and male dominance are the biggest problems of Haryana and that is why the state is called India’s rape capital.
CM Khattar has displayed his Haryanvi mindset by commenting on the Kashmiri girls. With nearly one gang rape every two days since 2016, Haryana has become the most unsafe place for women. Haryana is India’s richest large state by per capita income. Haryana also comes up tops on a score it would rather not: It has the highest number of gang rapes in India.
National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data shows in 2016, Haryana registered one gang rape every two days. The number of rapes was at 1,187 – which is more than three a day. Haryana Police data shows that already 70 cases of gang rapes have been filed in the state until May 31, 2018. Of these, 33 are under investigation and 18 in the trial stage. Last year was no different with 176 cases of gang rape being registered. If that is enough to declare a rampant, then Haryana – the Launchpad of the BJP’s ambitious Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme – should have declared one some time ago. Already the population of Kashmir is in trauma and there is a sense of insecurity among people and above all, such irresponsible statements will bring a lot of disharmonies. The BJP needs to win the faith of people, they have to go close to the common man and tell them the reasons and benefits taking them in confidence. Right now the youth of Kashmir is feeling betrayed and such statements will fuel it further.
There is another BJP minister OP Dhankhar who used to say that he will bring a ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) from Bihar. Nowadays, people are saying that the path to Kashmir has been cleared, so now we will bring girls from Kashmir. Why does their imagination end at women and their complexion and looks? How do they even open their big mouths and give these stupid remarks for women? The Prime Minister should have immediately taken action against such foul-mouthed ministers. There should be immediate dismissal and an FIR against these leaders over the remark.
CM Khattar’s comment depicts the mindset of the BJP. No Indian is against the marriage of Kashmiri girls in other states, but the manner in which the Haryana CM and BJP’s Vijay Goel are displaying their wish is not in the right taste. Such a thing can be said by only someone who does not have a daughter. A leader saying like this suggests that the party has a bad mindset about girls, as they are not a commodity that you can take them away.
If the Prime Minister works with a good mind, he should dismiss the Chief Minister immediately. The BJP leaders keep giving controversial statements but if a Chief Minister behaves like this, he should not be in the chair even for a moment and he should be removed immediately. If the PM does so, people with really respect the term he coined — “Beti Bachao”.
The PM needs to stand with the Betis of India by taking action against his own leaders. This rather bizarre commodification of women appears senseless at first, only rooted in the jingoistic narrative surrounding Kashmiri women and the Article 35A which restricted their property rights if they married non-locals. However, the comment gains more perspective when considered against Haryana’s poor track record in stopping female foeticide and its abysmal sex ratio.
According to NITI Aayog’s latest data (available till 2015), Haryana has the lowest sex ratio in the country — at 831 girls per 1,000 boys between 2013-15 — against a national average of 900. The fact that the Haryana Chief Minister was making these comments while addressing a state-level function on the “success” the NDA government’s flagship projects, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, is ironic.
BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district, Vikram Singh Saini also said that party workers were “excited” over the scrapping of Article 370, as it allowed them to marry “Gori” (fair-skinned) women from Kashmir. In a video that went viral on social media, Saini said that “both, Hindus and Muslims should welcome” the abrogation, as it allowed them to marry Kashmiri women “without any issue”. There has also been a surge in misogynistic social media posts from Indian men across the country, expressing enthusiasm in marrying women from Kashmir.
The comments on social media following the passage of the new bill in both the Houses of Parliament saw a surge in misogynistic posts which reek of objectification. These types of comments will downgrade the dignity of rest members in the party as well. This would be rated as a below-par comment and would request the senior matured personalities to strictly controlling on such speech deliveries and instruct them to be cohesive while delivering speeches.
At a time when the BJP leaders are busy making cheap and shameful remarks about “fair Kashmiri girls” in the wake of abrogation of Article 370, an Akal Takht Jathedar has urged the Sikh community to protect the honour of Kashmiri girls as their “religious duty. Akal Takht is the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. Kashmiri women are part of our society. It is our religious duty to defend their honour. Sikhs should come forward to protect the honour of Kashmiri women. It is our duty and it is our history. Many more should come forward and stand for the dignity of Kashmiri women at this moment because the BJP leaders have misunderstood the Beti Bachao slogan.
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