Millennium Post

‘Rahul is taking Rajiv’s ideas forward’

How did the ministry  handle the Delhi gang rape case?

Numerous  discussions  took place in the ministry regarding the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi. Many women activists and groups came forth and presented their views to us. During these meetings several views emerged. Some of them wanted death penalty for the perpetrators while some suggested life imprisonment for the six accused. After hearing all the views, I sent these suggestions to J S Verma  and requested him to personally call these people and listen to their perspectives. I am sure he considered their viewpoints while drafting the final report.

What were the suggestions given by your ministry on this issue?

It was not only the Women and Child Development Ministry but also the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry and the Home Ministry that collectively came together to deliberate on the issue, bring in suggestions and discuss its future. After assembling all the suggestions, I forwarded them to the relevant authorities.  

J S Verma in his report has been  critical of the role of police in handling this case. what’s your view on the subject?

I haven’t ever come across such a case before in my life. I agree there were shortcomings in the way police functioned but their actions were not a complete failure. It was an unfortunate accident. Women and Child Development Ministry has already started to address the issue of police sensitisation and will be starting special programmes for them.

What is a bigger problem? Laws or their implementation?

When we talk about implementation of laws there is a need for community participation to remove social evils. NGOs also play a very important role in this. The need of the hour is to change the mindset of people and sensitise male members of every family. After SABLA (Rajiv Gandhi Empowerment of Adolescent Girls) the ministry is coming up with SAKSHAM, a scheme for boys. There is a strong need to sensitise children on issues such as the need to curb the rising number of crimes against women.

How was your experience at the recently concluded Chintan Shivir in Jaipur?

The experience at Chintan Shivir was really good. It wasn’t really the first one though. Such events have been organised by the party in the past as well. The main focus was on the 2014 general elections, to incorporate suggestions and bring about changes in the party. In the same event at Jaipur, I was also part of a sub-group that focussed on women empowerment.
During discussions in this group, we focused on areas such as safety, education, health and employment of women in the country.

Was there active participation from the youth in the Chintan Shivir?

Some very good suggestions were given by the youth, who actively participated in the discussions. The credit goes to Rahul Gandhi for bringing them in.

What is your view on Rahul Gandhi being appointed as the party’s vice president?

I am happy at his appointment. Rahul has made an effort to take Rajiv Gandhi’s ideological beliefs forward.

I feel that the people of India have already accepted him as their leader.

Can the induction of Rahul Gandhi as the vice-president of the party be seen as a threat to senior leaders?

Not at all. It’s a collective effort. Rahul has himself said that what’s more important is taking the nation forward and that we all must focus on its success rather than anything else.
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