Wednesday, September 14 2016, 12:17:39
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Priya Motiani

JWB Blogger

Maneka Gandhi: ‘Marital Rape Cannot Be A Crime In India’

  • JWB Post
  •  March 11, 2016


Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has had a serious ‘change of mind’.

Yesterday, when asked in the Rajya Sabha about criminalizing marital Rape, she answered:

“It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, the mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament, etc.”

This statement of hers is in stark contrast to the statement about marital rape that she had made last year in June. Here’s what she said back then:

“My opinion is that violence against women shouldn’t be limited to violence by strangers. Very often a marital rape is not always about a man’s need for sex; it is only about his need for power and subjugation. In such case, it should be treated with seriousness.”

She also said that the scheme for universalization of women helpline has been approved for implementation through states/UTs from April 1 last year to provide 24-hour emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence both in the public and private sphere, including in family, community and workplace.

“All the states/UTs have been requested to submit the proposals in order to release funds. Funds have been sanctioned/released to 33 states/UTs for setting up Women Helpline,” added the minster.

What’s more? The idea of a women welfare committee in all districts of the country has also been conceptualized by the ministry; however, no such proposal has been formulated so far.

All that is well and good, but we are seriously wondering what is up with our Women and Child Development Minister! Has she forgotten her own words, or has she simply changed her stance on this crucial matter?

We believe marital rape is as much a crime as is rape by a stranger; maybe, even more so. What are your views on this? Tell us.

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