When Politicians derogate women, how can equality thrive in the society?

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti while speaking to a female news channel reporter made derogatory remarks over her. He used objectionable accent as she asked him few questions. Later, the anchor talked about challenging Bharti in court for using foul language against her. Delhi MLA Kapil Mishra has tweeted on this.

The anchor was asking Somnath Bharti about the chili powder attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Somnath Bharti became furious over the news anchor questions and made abusive statements against her.

On this, the news Anchor said that you do not feel ashamed to talk about this? The Sudarshan TV Anchor has challenged to move Bharti to court against the use of offensive language.

Somnath Bharti has already made controversial statements many times before disrespecting women and previously a domestic violence case was filed by his wife. Because of this, he had to go to jail. He had also threatened security guards of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The charge sheet filed on April 5, 2016, states that Bharti had unleashed his dog on Mitra while she was pregnant. Bharti had denied the allegations. He was sent to jail by the trial court where he stayed for eight days before he was granted bail in October 2015.


How Indian Politicians treat Women

Several other politicians have made an offensive remark on women which shows the patriarchal mindset of the national leaders.

Few of them are:

Congress MP and president’s son Abhijit Mukherjee on the Delhi protests against rapes “dented-painted women protesters in Delhi went to discotheques and then turned up at India Gate to express outrage.’’

Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam to BJP MP Smriti Irani, “It’s only four days of your entry into politics and you have become a political analyst. Aap toh TV pe thumke lagati thi, aaj chunavi vishleshak ban gayi (you were shaking your hips on TV, and now you have become a psephologist).’’

Mulayam Singh Yadav addressing a public rally in Barabanki, `“Only women from the affluent classes can get ahead in life, but remember you rural women will never get a chance because you are not that attractive.’’

In April 2014, while opposing death penalty to three men convicted in a gangrape case, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had said, “boys will be boys, they commit mistakes.” He had even blamed the girls for rape saying that girls get friendly with boys and when they fight and have differences, they term it as rape.

JDU leader Sharad Yadav opposing the Women’s Bill said that the bill would only benefit the well-off in the cities, describing well-off women as, ‘‘par kati auratein’ (women with short hair)

Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said that a list given to tourists at airports advised them not to wear skirts or dresses in India or venture out alone at night in small towns.

In 2013, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh unwittingly made a crass remark by describing Rahul Gandhi’s aide Meenakshi Natrajan, party MP from Mandsaur, as “sau tunch maal” — which loosely translates to a ” desirable object”.

Sriprakash Jaiswal, former union coal minister after India’s win over Pakistan in T20 championship, “As time passes, the joy of the victory fades, just like a wife becomes old and loses her charm.”

In 2015, Karnataka’s then Home Minister K J George stoked a controversy with remarks suggesting that two men raping a woman cannot be termed as gang rape, drawing severe flak from parties and activists.

Apart from the verbal abuse that women face from all classes, online abuse is also one of the common ways to derogate remarks on women.

Amnesty International India launched a campaign to address the issue of online violence faced by women in the country. It has been interviewing women who express their opinions online, documenting their experiences of being active on social media platforms and the violence they regularly face online.

During the event, Rana Ayyub, an award-winning writer and journalist, shared how she here experience for receiving rape and death threats on platforms like Twitter and how, more often than not, her complaints to the platform fell on deaf ears.

“I have reported so many profiles on Twitter, but the platform seems oblivious to all these. In addition to the hate and abuse, there are fourteen fake profiles in my name and with my picture. I have reported those profiles, but they continue to exist, because, apparently, they are not against Twitter’s policies, or so I have been told.”

The “shameful” remarks by politicians resemble a “patriarchial assumption that men ‘possess’ women, much like property, and therefore have the right to safeguard the same by any means necessary.”

If such is a treatment of women by the political leaders, how can equality and justice be delivered to half of the country’s population? Crimes such as rapes are not considered to be heinous and accused are often let go under the leader’s influence.

Violence against women – that is, violence directed at women by virtue of their gender violates their human rights and is thus an impediment to the attainment of gender equality in the country.

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