National

'State Of Mard', 'Black Bride'...: Sexist Remarks In Rajasthan Assembly Draw Ire Of Activits

Activists demand accountability and raise serious questions about the stand of BJP and Congress legislators on gender equality.

Congress parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal. (File photo)
info_icon

On February 23, Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia compared the state budget with a black bride. The next day the Congress slammed Poonia's statement in the assembly leading to the latter apologising for his comments.Two weeks later, the Congress stands hugely embarrassed after parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal, who is considered as the right-hand man of the chief minister Ashok Gehlot, made an equally objectionable comment attributing a high number of rape cases in Rajasthan to the fact that  'Rajasthan is a state of mard'. The BJP which just a fortnight ago was accused of being sexist, now got the opportunity to get their payback as the party legislators created a massive uproar in the assembly, leading to Dhariwal doing a Poonia by apologising on Thursday.On Wednesday, a day after International Women’s Day, Rajasthan cabinet minister  for Law and Legal Affairs Shanti Dhariwal while giving a reply on increase in the rape cases in Assembly said, “We are number one in rape, ismein koi do raai nahin (no doubt about that), ab ye rape ke mamle mein kyun hain, kahin na kahin galti hai ye toh ...(now why we are number one, it is a fault somewhere).”A 78-year-old three-time MLA Dhariwal added, “Rajasthan to mardon ka pradesh raha hai yaar, ab uska kya karein (Rajasthan has been a state of men, what to do about that)". As Dhariwal said these words, the MLAs sitting around him could be seen smirking and smiling.

Several activists including National Commission for Women (NCW) slammed Dhariwal for the comment. The NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma tweeted, "[The] Rajasthan government has ministers like these that's why women of the state are suffering gruesome gender crimes and police just don't do anything. How will women of the state feel safe if it has ministers like these? NCW India is taking strong action against Mr. Dhariwal."Similarly, Rajasthan BJP chief Poonia's statement on the budget witnessed huge criticism by activists and the ruling government and was objected by the Rajasthan women commission chairperson Rehana Riyaz.  Poonia had said "Lipa poti wala budget hai, aur aisa lag raha hai ki kisi Kaali dulhan ko beauty parlour mei le jake usko ache se shringar kar ke pesh kar diya ho (It’s an eyewash budget and looks like a black bride who has been taken to a beauty parlour and presented after a good make-up. I can see nothing more in this budget)."

Within a span of two weeks, sexist remarks by both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have raised serious questions about the stand of legislators on gender equality. "Commenting on a colour of a woman or replying on the increase in the numbers of rape by simply making a mockery of women is not acceptable at all. Both these statements cannot be counted as a slip of tongue but it reflects the mindset of these politicians. These statements send a wrong message to the public and no apology can ever be enough unless there is accountability", Nisha Sidhu, General Secretary Rajasthan, National Federation for Indian Women (NFIW) told Outlook. 

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement