A day after the news of infamous Guwahati molestation of a schoolgirl and diktats by khap panchayat in Uttar Pradesh against women came out, the politicians on Friday talked loud about women’s freedom.
Twenty men had molested and stripped a schoolgirl on Monday on her way back home from a party at a city bar in Guwahati. Four of the 20 have been arrested.
Terming the incident as “shameful”, the BJP demanded immediate action against the perpetrators of the crime.
“The BJP demands that immediate action be taken and the perpetrators of that violence go through a speedy trial and punishment is given to them,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said here.
“Not just in Assam. Everywhere we are repeatedly coming across situations, where women are being beaten up in public by unlawful elements and those people are not very quickly brought to justice,” she said.
On diktats by a Khap panchayat in Asara village in Baghpat’s Ramala area banning love marriages, barring women below 40 years of age from going out for shopping, covering their heads before leaving homes and using mobile phones outside their homes, women politicians and activists came down hard on the feudal outfits.
“Khap panchayats do not have constitutional power. Therefore, they have no right to make such laws. We are living in the 21st century and when such incidents take place, it is ironical,” National Commission for Women Chairperson Mamta Sharma said. “The government should take some action and tell the people not to accept what these panchayats say,” she added.
“Wherever such things happen, government should take action immediately,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Brinda Karat, politburo member of the CPM said that the caste panchayats are entirely “illegal” in existence.
“Caste panchayats are self-declared bodies which have nothing to do with the framing of laws. All the fatwas, diktats and farmans (orders) directed by them are illegal,” she said.
Meanwhile, the khap panchayat refused to withdraw its diktat even as Home Minister P Chidambaram criticised the khap panchayat. “Diktats have no place in democracy. Police must act against anyone giving diktats,” Chidambaram said here.