Open letter to Lalita Kumaramangalam who acts on blogs but not on gangrape by gau rakshaks


Disclaimer: ( For all hyper-ventilating pseudo nationalists who are likely to give me Maa-Behen ki gaali ironically while claiming to defend the honour of women)

1) I am NOT insulting women. I am merely pointing out, using facts , how the NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam, a former Loksabha candidate, National Executive member and spokesperson of the ruling BJP which rewarded her with this position, seems to be targeting (co-incidentally of course) sworn political rivals and non-BJP state governments to earn some brownie points for her (former?) party and how her partisan approach ends up belying the true mandate of the NCW.

2) I am NOT defending Ashutosh whose blog I found to be unnecessary and one that drew totally misplaced parallels between the Mahatma and the sacked minister Sandeep Kumar. I am NOT condoning his remarks on Nehru, Gandhi and others. I hope nobody interprets this letter as a defence for Sandeep Kumar or Ashutosh or AAP. It is merely to bring out Lalita ji’s hypocrisy.

3) I am not the A team or B Team of AAP and AAP is not the A team or B Team of Congress. The article is being written, in my individual capacity not as a Congress man.

4) If notices are still issued to me (or out of sheer vendetta to members of my family in the future and this is quite likely to happen), followed by an FIR by the Delhi police, which put together show little efficiency and competence in protecting women and even 11 month old babies, in the national capital from rising instances of rape, I WILL NOT appear before it and would request them to rather throw me into jail for the “crime” of expressing my opinion.

Phew, that’s a pretty long disclaimer I had to put in. But these days, in the opinion of Lalita Kumaramangalam, a letter/blog written by a political adversary deserves more attention than the gang rape of Muslim women over beef rumours, rape of tribal activists like Soni Sori and adivasi women in BJP run Chattisgarh so one can never be too cautious!

Dear Lalita ji,

With the lengthy disclaimer that I had to put in below, I promise to keep this part short. I don’t want to take up much of your valuable time. You should rather use it to bash your inconvenient political rivals on TV channels, using the veil of independence that the NCW provides you.

Your yeoman service to the party (sorry former party) helps the BJP, the party of Saheb and snoop-gate, to appear holier-than-thou night after night, on TV debates with a straight face and lecture us all on women’s issues and point out how terrible the law and order is in non-BJP run UP, Bihar and Karnataka after ruling Madhya Pradesh, for over a decade during which time, it has earned the notoriety, year after year, of having the worst track record on women’s safety in the entire country. From 2011 onwards (perhaps even earlier) Madhya Pradesh has recorded the maximum number of rapes in India as per the NCRB data. But come on, we can’t expect the NCW to demand the summoning or sacking of CM Shivraj Chauhan, can we?

But I do congratulate you Lalita ji for the notice you issued to Ashutosh for the views he expressed in his blog. I am not sure what law he violated but then I heard you say on multiple tv channels his “tone and tenor” was demeaning to women. May I now expect the NCW about the notices issued on this very parameter when the following statements were made :

“A Hindu woman must produce at least four children” in order to protect Hindu religion.” – BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj where his “tone and tenor” implies that women are nothing more than children producing machines! By the way nothing came off the sham of a notice BJP issued to the MP and Sakshi Maharaj himself denied that he had been pulled up for his remark at all. But I would surely like to know if the NCW summoned Sakshi Maharaj and what action it too under you on this issue.

Photo: NDTV
Photo: NDTV

“It is heartening that Prime Minister of Bangladesh despite the fact that she is a woman is openly saying that she has zero tolerance for terrorism.”
-PM Modi’s “despite being a woman” remark had such a “tone and tenor” that we became a laughing stock internationally. I am sure given PM Modi’s propensity to make sexist, patriarchal and offensive comments towards women including the “50crore girlfriend” jibe, “beauty conscious” young girls remark you at the NCW did issue him a notice?

“Girls protesting in JNU. Prostitutes who sell their bodies are better than them because atleast they don’t sell the country.”
– Jawahar Yadav, BJP leader from Haryana who is a close aide of CM Khattar.

“Agar Rajiv Gandhi koi Nigerian ladies se byaah kiye hote, gori chamra na hota, toh kya Congress party uska netritwa sweekarti kya? (Had Rajiv married a Nigerian lady, had she not been fair-skinned, would the Congress have accepted her leadership?)”
– Giriraj Singh’s views on Mrs Sonia Gandhi which was not sexist but also racist and got the Nigerians up in arms.

Now I can give you a dozen more examples of sexist statements with worse “tone and tenor” towards women, which are seeped in patriarchy or those which lower their dignity or objectify them and these come from the RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, senior BJP leaders like Kailash Vijaywargiya, MP Yogi Adityanath and many other stalwarts in the BJP. I would be happy if you prove me wrong by issuing notices and summoning the RSS chief like you did for non-BJP politicians.

Also do explain this : If Ashutosh gets a notice over his blog that seemingly defends the indefensible Sandeep Kumar why hasn’t the same parameter been applied to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who openly defends rape accused Asaram and claims he has been framed by Congress party on twitter. Isn’t Swamy casting aspersions on the minor victim of Asaram, who by the way has been rejected bail by the Supreme Court and whose son also faces rape charges. Will you issue a notice to Subramanian Swamy for insulting the victim?

The issue is not about you summoning x or y or z over some remarks. That is your prerogative. The issue is about your allegedly partisan behaviour and how you choose non issues over real ones. The alleged case of gang rape of two Muslim women, by cow vigilantes, allegedly affiliated to Sangh parivar, over the issue of beef, in Mewat, Haryana should have been worthy of your attention too. But surprisingly I am yet to find your bold TV statement on this issue like the one you gave in the Kerala rape case prior to the elections in that state.

Here are news reports about this issue:

Mewat gangrape and rapist’s alleged links with RSS, Twitter users trend #RapistGauRakshaks

The Haryana police meanwhile is busy raiding Biryani stalls and is trying to cover up any links between the cow vigilantes and this gruesome crime. Can we expect that you would summon the Haryana CM, who believes his priority in a state that sees over 60 crimes against women per day (reported by Times Of India 10 March 2015), is Biryani policing, to ascertain from him if Cows matter more to his government than women in his state including Sakshi Malik? Or direct the central government to enforce a ban on Cow vigilantes who are allegedly turning to rapes and justifying it in the name of beef and cow protection! What suo Moto action, if any, was taken by the NCW before the receipt of my complaint to wake you up from your slumber?

At the very least a double gang rape has taken place in Haryana and I hope Ms Lalita Kumaramangalam that notwithstanding the fact that the Haryana government is a BJP led one you will act decisively. Your public interventions would be as welcome in a case of rape in MP, Haryana or Chattisgarh as they are in a cases in UP ,Kerala or elsewhere.

If you are truly committed to the cause of all Indian women, why don’t you take up this one case and put to rest all questions that arise about your convictions. The regional passport office in Gujarat did not accept Jashodaben’s passport application saying it was “incomplete” because there was no marriage certificate or a joint affidavit with the spouse.

According to the passport office, a marriage certificate or a joint affidavit is a required document to get the passport. Jashodaben now wants to know how did Prime Minister Modi get a passport without showing the marriage certificate and has filed an RTI for necessary documents as per credible and multiple news reports.

To have a passport is a basic right that Jashodaben should not be denied. Given the fact that she had been deserted , never acknowledged by Mr Modi as his wife in election affidavits until 2014 would you, in the interest of all women take up her case and suo-Moto seek those documents from the PM? Would you stand up for Jashodaben’s rights who has been evidently struggling despite being the PM’s wife? Would you summon the PM for denying his wife these basic rights?

Shehzad Poonawalla