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Sat. Nov 26th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: At a time when the country is reeling in shock over the brutal murder of Shraddha Walker by her live-in partner, Union women and child development and minority affairs minister Smriti Irani said that there is need to speak about intimate partner violence and that a discussion on the subject is important.
“Nobody cuts a woman into small pieces in the heat of the moment, and nobody continues to beat a woman who he claims to love or is in a relationship with,” Irani said as she questioned “vouyeristic headlines” drawing from the accused Aaftab Poonawala’s statement that “he did it in the the heat of the moment”.
“The fact that the abuse was continuous and was known to so many people and the fact that there was not much she could get in terms of help is an issue that needs to be elaborately reflected on by people at large because intimate partner violence and violence by family members of a woman is something that has been aggressively reported by National Crime Records Bureau,” Irani said during a conversation in a fireside chat session at the Times Now Summit on Thursday.
“It is very easy to say to a woman that leave the abuser but anyone who has worked on the issue and has studied the psychology and cycle of such violence will know that the mental fear is such that you can leave a woman in a open room she will not move a step,” Irani added.
When asked about what she thought of the police inaction when Shraddha made a complaint in November 2020 in Maharashtra about the threat to her life as it was with them for 26 days and she later withdrew it, Irani refused to make any direct comment on the ongoing investigation. However, Irani reiterated that it brings into focus those who “systemically and socially were aware of her state but did not call the cops”. The issue is who are the people at the workplace, family who knew that she was violated and threatened but were somehow compelled not to help,” she added.
In the context of Sharadha’s murder case where the accused is from a minority community, when Irani was asked to share her views on the concern over cases of “Love Jihad”, Irani, without commenting on the specific case, asked a question in turn: “When you defraud a woman with the intent to bring her into a fraudulent relationship … can’t a BJP-ruled state bring a law?” She did not speak of whether a central legislation would be made to deal with the issue but defended and asserted that every state has all the right to bring a law required if the woman needs protection.
She was also quick to react when reminded of the remarks of a TMC MP after she was given the charge of minority affairs in addition to WCD. The MP had said, “A hard core Hindu married to a Parsi has been given charge of Muslims and Christians. Is this BJP’s brand of secularism?”
To this, Irani replied: “Absolutely! It is BJP’s way of telling every Indian in this country that when you sit in a constitutional position you serve in that position on the merits of the Constitution and you serve without prejudice. A hard core Hindu can serve the better interests of the minority population of our country.”
On Congress party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra being led by Rahul Gandhi, Irani responded by asking, “Bharat toot gaya hai kya? Jo desh toota nahin woh desh ko jodney ki baat kartey hain. (Is the country divided? They are talking of uniting a country that is not divided).” She hit out at the Congress questioning the kind of people joining the yatra. “In their yatra there are some people who have raised slogans of ‘Bharat tere tukdey hongey (India will be balkanised)’ in the national capital,” she alleged.
To the Congress assertion that the yatra was an attempt to connect with people, Irani hit out saying. “This means that Congress, in a first, is accepting that somewhere their connection with people had broken that they now need to reconnect.”

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