Women’s organizations oppose anti-women statements of Ministers of M.P. Government and burning of Jeans

We condemn the incidence of burning of jeans in district Damoh. We are shocked that Babulal Gaur, Ramkrishna Kusumaria and Kailash Vijayvargiya have welcomed it and made many statements that blame women for violence against them. We oppose such thinking strongly. We want people to know that there is no connection between our dress and the violence perpetrated against us and to dress as per our choice is a part of our freedom and our constitutional rights.

When the issue of women’s rights is being raised all over the country there is need for serious fresh thinking and at this time such conservative statements that try to limit women’s freedom are in themselves criminal. Many other statements have been made to curtail the freedom of women.

It is a cause of concern that none of these ministers have retracted from such statements nor has the Chief Minister, who is making declarations of making the state safe for women, has intervened or remarked against his ministers.

The State Women’s Commission has also not taken cognizance of these incidents. We believe that these statements expose the lie of a democratic face of the government which is actually governed by feudal and patriarchal ideology. We also want to state that capital punishment or castration are not going to reduce crimes. We are opposed to the statement of chairperson of SCW that advocates such solutions.

We want to underscore the point that ground reality has to improve and the existing law and processes have to be put to better use. Timely registration of FIRs, medical examination, collection of evidence combined with a fast trial are some of the changes that are urgently required to be made.

It must be remembered that M.P. is at the top as compared to the other states when it comes to violence against Dalit and tribal women. In child sexual abuse also M.P. does not lag behind others. We want to ask what is the connection between rape of such women and girls and the dress they wear?

According to us such statements fan sentiments that lead to rape and are helping in saving rapists as the violence is being blamed on the dress, behaviour and character of the victim. This is an attack on women’s struggle for equality and their hard earned gains. Families are becoming insecure due to rising incidence of rapes and sexual harassment and are already trying to withdraw girls from schools. In such a situation statements of these ministers provoke more discrimination against girls and women. In such an atmosphere women cannot hope to be free.

We oppose the statements of these ministers strongly and demand that the Chief Minister takes strong action against them

M.P. Mahilla Manch, Women against sexual violence and state repression m.p., National Federation of Women
( translatiion courtesy kalpana mehta)