UNSAFE COUNTRY FOR WOMEN
OR A RAUCOUS ATTACK ON CURRENT INDIAN GOVERNMENT
A study by Thomson Reuters Foundation labelling India as the most unsafe country for women has led to a slugfest in media. People are debating whether India is really the most unsafe country for women? Are women in India more oppressed than war torn Syria, Haiti, Saudi Arabia? But are these countries even worth comparing to? The question ideally should be is, whether India is as safe as USA, Japan, Korea, UK, Australia and so on, because India is aspiring to be a developed country like these and should not be hyphenated with other countries.
But this is not the first time that such a report has been published, discrediting India’s record and development in all spheres including prevention of child marriage, women empowerment, legislative framework, prostitution, child labour, slavery and so on. Before attempting to state what the report says, we have to understand who says that and why does he says so. Without understanding these two Who and Why the matrix is not complete.
To understand ‘Who’, lets analyse who came out with the report. The report was published by Thomson Reuters Foundation. So what does TRF do? If one visits their website, one would realize that it is an organization that takes pride in being an enabler for NGOs and Social enterprise members to achieve groundbreaking legal and policy reforms and strengthen rule of law. In other words, the organization funds other organizations to create laws and mould policies of the government to create a legal framework that suits their objectives and needs. If one sees their offices worldwide on their website, one would realize that they don’t have any offices in Syria, Afganistan, most of Africa, Middle-East barring Iraq, but have offices in all growing economies and they have three offices in India i.e. in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. No other country has these many offices. Of course India is a big country and they need all the efforts to bring policy and legal changes in India.
Couple it with two more realities in India. On one part, it is sad to see that in the past few years the legislative capabilities of Indian Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies are driven by either court pronouncements or by the rowdiness on the streets. The group that cries the loudest gets the law to favour them. Be it reservations, for which there are so many variants that we have forgotten who gets what in which state. Be it changes in Rape and Molestation laws, which unfortunately now look so similar that not paying a prostitute is an equal crime to a gang-rape ; where a slap to a woman in an impromptu fight to a pat on the back to disrobing the woman in public is equated. And when it comes to frequent changes in laws related to women, it is no secret that there are advocacy groups in India, who cry hoarse at each and every remote incident in a country of over 1.3 billion people to make it more and more stringent. Because more stringent the law is, more it is prone to misuse and thus more money can be made. Recently a leading newspaper came out with a news story about women who act as honeytraps to extort money out of victims. A new word ‘Sextortionist’ was also coined for such women somewhere on social media which has caught the fancy of many. Secondly, the 24X7 news media, which is less about reporting and more about promoting the agenda of the party it is close to. So while one section of media is always crediting government for every good in the country, the other section sees a failure of government in everything that goes wrong. Such reports give fodder to both sides of media to shout more loudly in their newsrooms.
Now let’s come to ‘WHY’ of the matrix. Why did TRF came out with such a report admonishing India and labelling it as the most unsafe country in the world for women? Indian Government for last two years has been cancelling FCRA certificates for many NGOs. (A little background : Any Indian NGO who wants to have foreign contributions need to have an FCRA license, which is governed by Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. Such fundings have been used by many groups for fanning religious extremism, conversions and also by advocacy groups for change in legislation). Any activity requires money and resources. These women advocacy groups are now facing a crunch. And dare I say, most care two hoots for women rights. Such funds are routinely diverted in giving luxurious life style to those running these groups. Moreover, if anyone ever reads this particular report carefully, would read that it says in fine print it is just the perception of 548 respondents whom they claim to be “experts in women’s issues” and can not be said to be any survey for that matter. Times of India recently reported that the organization revealed that 43 of these 548 respondents were from India. So of around 200 countries they choose 43 respondents from one country alone to create a perception report labelled it as survey just to demean a country, demolish its tourism industry and create pressure on government to relax FCRA rules again for these women centric organization. I wonder how many of these 43 respondents would be from rural areas or women who have really seen what oppression is. They must have given a perception from their plush AC offices while getting pedicure done.
Meanwhile, the opposition has gleefully seized this opportunity. Rahul Gandhi tweeted – “While our PM tiptoes around his garden making Yoga videos, India leads Afganistan, Syria & Saudi Arabia in rape & violence against women. What a shame for our country!” I would love to remind Mr. Gandhi that we were just at 4th in 2011 when such a survey came around and you were tearing your own prime-minister’s legislation in public. So, it’s a shame on you that during 3 years since that report you never acted on it. The Mahila Congress Twitter handle thundered “International Shame. Welcome to the Era of @narendramodi Governance under which India has become a ‘No Women’s Land’. Extremely challenged women safety. The lack of law and order under @BJP4India govt. has made India a top ranker in the list of most dangerous countries for women.” Trust me Congress is not the only one to seize such opportunities. During his electioneering, Modi himself was very vocal about security and safety of women.
Sometime back, when there was furore was about Rape, I had written an article Rape Commentology in which I had put Rape Statistics around the world as I was pained by the tag of Rape Capital Tag for Delhi. Also, I have been quite vocal how the feminists in India seize every opportunity to further their agenda, as they lack real issues. When it comes to other crime, I re-iterate that rape incidents in India is 0.03 rapes per 1000 population, whereas its 1.2 per 1000 in USA. A woman is 400 times more likely to be groped in New York than in Delhi. Cases of acid attack, witch-hunting or stoning of women are incidental only. There are certain practises like genital mutilation which are totally absent in India. Child marriage rates are comparable to USA in India (Surprised, don’t trust me, but would you trust Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_marriage_in_the_United_States )
Thus this report is nothing but a raucous attack on Indian government scripted by some disgruntled women whose interests are hampered and this is done to create a fear psychosis amongst population and push their agenda and get green bucks for their own comfort.
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