On July 18, 2014, Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel announced that 1st to 15th August 2014 will be celebrated as women empowerment weeks in Gujarat. Coincidentally, Gujarat State Human Rights Commission (GHRC) also tabled its report for the year 2010-2011 in assembly on the same day. The reason given by Minister of Home, Rajni Patel, for the 3 year delay in placing the GHRC Report before the Gujarat assembly was ‘inadequate manpower’. In reality, the reason for delaying the report was the state election which was held in 2012 and thereafter central election which took place in 2014. One might wonder why?

GHRC report claims that there has been a fourfold increase in violation of women rights in 2010-2011 compared to 2006-2007. In 2010-2011 alone 11,478 crimes against women were registered in Gujarat. Among them were 297 cases of murder, 428 cases of rape, 1394 cases of abduction, 97 attempts to murder, 910 cases of molestation, 534 of abetment to suicide, 270 of causing grievous hurt, 496 of normal injury and 6999 cases of harassment. These are just the reported cases. Also, on Truth of Gujarat, we have earlier seen as to how Gujarat has one of the lowest rates of conviction in crime against women.

A large section of the society, especially the right wingers, will always blame women, their dress code, there life style etc for all the ills of Indian society. I am born and brought up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and did my graduation from St Xavier’s college in 1972. Those days Miss India Kavita Bhambhani, film actress Parveen Babi, Danseuse and Gujarati film actress Mallika Sarabhai also studied in the same college and were my contemporaries. They were always upto date with fashion trends and wore modern clothes. Even though, I was a studious science student, I also liked to keep up with the concurrent fashion trends. Especially, Saturday used to be like a ‘Fashion Mela’ in the college with both Science and Arts students attending the college at similar time of the day. However, eve teasing was unheard of in Ahmedabad in those days. We could go around the town even after sunset till late hours without any fear. We used to cycle around the town or use the city bus to go to school or college.

My son who completed his schooling as late as in 1999 along with all his classmates also had a very safe childhood. All girls and boys used to travel alone or with friends from tuition classes or school. However, that is not the case in 2014. These days school girls are not sent to school or tuition classes alone and are almost always accompanied by family members. There is a car pool system among parents who can afford the luxury. Question is why has this insecurity gripped parents in Ahmedabad? This is the same city which has been acclaimed to be one of the safest city across the country for many many decades now.

Besides crime against women, there has also been an unprecedented rise in human right violations from 610 in 2006-07 to 10,380 in 2010-2011 according to GSRC report. Why is the law and order situation collapsing by the day in Gujarat?

One of the main reasons is the use of criminal elements by politicians of the state. In Gujarat, Congress encouraged Latif who carried charges of extortion, murder and bootlegging etc. at the time of being encountered by Gujarat Police. Under BJP ruled, we hear names of Raju Chetti, Samir Barot, Bhavin Thakor, Rakesh Thakor, Pankaj Marathi, Tejas Barot etc. They are hand in gloves with police and have the blessing of political leaders. BJP president Amit Shah who was Minister of State for Home in Gujarat also carries murder and extortion charges.

Extreme criminalization of politics is the reality today and doing candle light marches is not going to change the system. Also once the society is criminalized, women and children are the first targets as they are the softest targets in this patriarchal system. Hence, it is time to unite and fight against criminalization of the system by our politicians in Gujarat and the rest of India. Women’s rights and Human rights movements need to be strengthened and the fight has to be taken to the streets with renewed vigour.


Read more here – http://www.truthofgujarat.com/gujarats-cm-celebrates-womens-week-crime-women-time-high-gujarat/