A fresh ‘letter-war’ has erupted between the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the state Raj Bhavan, this time a fallout of the recent Sakinaka brutal rape-cum-murder incident.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had recently written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressing concerns over the tragic incident and urged the latter to call a special session of Maharashtra Legislature to discuss the specific (Sakinaka) issue and the safety of women in general.
Firing a missile on Monday, Thackeray endorsed the Governor’s sentiments and pointed out that the question of women’s safety is not confined to Maharashtra alone but is a national issue.
He cited a string of incidents of atrocities on women in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, BJP-supported Bihar, Delhi where the police is controlled by the Centre and Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir under the Central administration.
In view of these, Thackeray urged Koshyari to request the BJP-led Central government to convene a 4-day special session of Parliament to deliberate on women’s security in which even the Sakinaka incident could be included.
Taking a potshot, the CM said that women being ‘unsafe’ in the state appeared to be the Governor’s sole opinion and his agony was akin to that of a ‘political activist.’
“The minute people inimical to the state government talked about calling a special legislature session, the Governor joined their clamour for the same, which is detrimental to the system of parliamentary democracy. Your demand could stoke a fresh controversy,” cautioned Thackeray.
Harking to the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Thackeray pointedly asked whether women are really safe there under the ‘Gujarat Model’.
“As per a Gujarat Police report, daily 14 women face rapes and exploitation, in recent past, 2,908 women went ‘missing’ in Ahmedabad, in two years 14,229 women have ‘disappeared’ in the state and since 2015 atrocities on women have peaked there. To discuss all this, Gujarat would require a ‘month-long’ special legislature session,” Thackeray wrote, no-holds-barred.
Dwelling on Delhi where the law and order is the Centre’s jurisdiction, the CM said that in past few years, it has become infamous globally as the ‘rape capital’ and its needs special attention.
“Last month, a 9-year-old Dalit girl was gangraped and murdered by a priest and his three associates in a crematorium, they even attempted to destroy evidence by forcibly cremating her. This is the scenario in the city where the entire country’s Cabinet is based,” said Thackeray without mincing words.
He drew the Governor’s attention to the BJP-supported Bihar where a BJP MP allegedly raped a woman activist of the same party, the police refused to lodge her complaint owing to political pressures and only after a court order three months later that an FIR was lodged against the culprit.
Giving examples of Uttar Pradesh, where the Lord Ram Temple is coming up, Thackeray said that earlier this month, a kho-kho player was brutally raped and murdered and her body was found near Bijnor railway station.
“Such incidents have taken place in UP’s Hathras, Unnao, Badaun where two cousin sisters were raped and murdered. Even the NCRB has said that such atrocities are on the increase in UP, but nobody from the BJP seems to have made demands for a special legislature session there,” Thackeray hit out.
Pointing at the ‘dev-bhoomi’ of Uttarakhand, of which the Governor himself was a ‘Suputra’ (son), Thackeray said atrocities on women have shot up by 150 per cent in that state, and enquired “if there can be a special legislature session there too.”
The CM also listed the immediate steps taken by the MVA government after the Sakinaka incident of September 10 to ensure justice to the victim and her minor children.
He said that Maharashtra is the state of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who always gave importance to women’s dignity and safety, and the MVA government is following in his footsteps.
Thackeray, 61, said he expected Governor Koshyari, 79, who is like an elder, to extend his blessings in this endeavour.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: email@example.com)