There is a fine line between airing legitimate grievances and putting out comments that are downright disgusting, in addition to being a sweeping generalisation, a volatile overstatement on the dignity and security of the women and men belonging to a particular place. `
BJP MP from Rajya Sabha, Roopa Ganguly, who's also the leader of BJP's Mahila Morcha, just breached the level of decency with her obscene and outrageous remark involving a crime as serious as rape.
Ganguly told a bunch of reporters that women in West Bengal wouldn't even survive 15 days without being raped by TMC supporters or cadres, unless they seek chief minister Mamata Banerjee's hospitality. She was talking in the context of the recent law and order issues in West Bengal, where recent communal riots in Basirhat as well as Dhulagarh and Kalaichak earlier, had rocked the state.
Ganguly said that only those related to or ingratiating themselves to the Bengal CM stand a chance of being safe and secure in the state.
“I dare all the parties, the ones who keep flattering the West Bengal government and the [Trinamool] Congress, to send their daughters, sisters-in-law, wives to Bengal, without taking any hospitality from Mamata Banerjee,” she told ANI. “If they are able to survive there for 15 days without getting raped, then tell me.”
15 din to maine zayda bol diya actually: BJP MP Roopa Ganguly on her comment that women won't survive 15 days in WB without getting raped pic.twitter.com/x2bUNTjW9N— ANI (@ANI_news) July 15, 2017
The BJP MP's incendiary comments fit right into the party's blueprint - by now widely reported on - to keep the pot of unrest stirring. This is an irresponsible statement coming from a fellow woman and shows deep disregard for female safety, security and dignity on the part of her party, because clearly Ganguly was doing her party's bidding in stirring the communal cauldron further.
Several portals such as Alt News have unearthed how the rape threat is repeatedly used as a bait by Hindutva groups to say how Hindu women are insecure because of Mamata Banerjee's and the Trinamool Congress' "Muslim appeasement".
Fake cases have been projected to create a false narrative of Hindu women being targeted, whether in the case of love jihad or ghar wapsi, and of course Bengal is no exception to the rule.
Put a few fake news hate peddlers in jail & the rest of the trolls spreading fake news will stop. All such thugs&bullies are cowards as well https://t.co/dbv8M3Lidr— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) July 13, 2017
As senior journalist Akshay Mukul notes, as far back as 1946, the Sangh rumour mill was busy spinning the "Hindu women being raped" yarn, as was evidently the "plea" published in the Hindutva mouthpiece Kalyan.
This is of course not to say that rapes don't happen in West Bengal: in fact, it's hardly the safest state in the country.
However, being a TMC supporter or not has little to do with that crime, because women everywhere, belonging to or supporting any political party, are equally vulnerable in an increasingly lumpenising society, that's witnessing rising crimes and orchestrated communal tensions.
It is extremely unfortunate that Roopa Ganguly, who's famous for playing the central character Draupadi in BR Chopra's TV series Mahabharat, is stooping to such lows to promote her party's cause. Is Ganguly aware that West Bengal's Kanyashri project got a United Nations award for being one of the most promising in the developing world?
While Bengal has seen high-profile rape and sexual assault cases, and is indeed witnessing a degradation of law and order because of repeated clashes between the TMC and BJP cadres, dragging in an issue as sensitive and criminal as rape and making an offhand comment to malign the CM is unbecoming of the actor-turned-politician.