Women activists cold to PM homilies
– Just rhetoric: Victims
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
A schoolteacher at the Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort. (Reuters)
New Delhi, Aug. 16: The Prime Minister’s prescription to reduce rapes and female foeticide, delivered in the form of homilies to parents in his Independence Day speech, appeared to impress some in the audience but left activists and victims unmoved.
“Parents ask their daughters hundreds of questions but have any parents ever dared ask their son where he is going, why he is going out, who his friends are?” Narendra Modi asked.
“After all, a rapist is also somebody’s son,” he added, suggesting “every parent… impose as many restrictions on the sons as have been imposed on our daughters”.
To Meera Deshmukh, a 45-year-old mother of two girls, it sounded like the “absolute truth”.
“His speech was something every parent can identify with. It was unusual for a PM to pick such a routine topic and make it a point to ponder over,” she said.
On female foeticide, Modi made a “request” to doctors “not to kill the girl growing in the womb of a mother just to line their own pockets”. He told mothers not to “sacrifice daughters”, who might look after them in old age whereas sons might not.
Mitu Khurana, a paediatrician who had taken her husband to court for pressuring her to kill her female foetus, said Modi’s “speech will not change a thing”.
“Will people who rape change themselves because Modiji said so?” she said, stressing the need for strict laws. “Which mother doesn’t worry about where her son is? Can a mother or a doctor alone stop foeticide?”
Acid attack victim Parvati said Modi’s “nuggets of wisdom” were just “rhetoric” that would achieve nothing.