Repositioning a not so `noble idea’

Around midnight on Saturday the 5th of August Varnika Kundu, a 29-year-old female Indian DJ based in Chandigarh alleged that she was involved in a motor car chase with the son of a politician and his friend who tried to abduct her. Apparently such incidents are not unusual but upon hearing of the case the prominent Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president, Ramveer Bhatti, responded in a manner that essentially blamed the victim. ‘Parents must take care of their children’ he advised, ‘They shouldn’t allow them to roam at night. Children should come home on time, why stay out at night?”

With comments such as the following the story went viral on social media (#aintnocinderella). “A woman has equal rights to go out in the night, just as men do. Cops or politicians have no right to police us on grounds of our morals, attire or time. Their duty is to ensure safety and not tell us what to and not to do.’ ‘A cop ignoring a woman’s complaint on grounds of her being on the road late is not justified. Pune is called a safe city but so many times I have been chased by men on bikes, and there was no police patrolling.’ ‘Travelling or wandering on the roads late at night is our choice. … I am working in a field where I have to work till late hours in the night. If I am in trouble, it’s not the cops business to ask me why I am on the road late.’

Coming upon reports of the story I placed the Vice- President’s response in the context of the still very conservative nature of Indian society and thought that no Guyanese politician would dare publicly express such archaic views. Then Minister Keith Scott made his not so ‘noble idea’ to ….


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