Parrikar's rape remark 'insensitive', say women's group

Panaji, June 29: Goa's leading women rights group has called Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar "arrogant and insensitive towards women" after he publicly suggested that entrepreneurs starting an industrial unit suffered an ordeal worse than that experienced by a raped woman.

Sabina Martins, convenor of the Bailancho Saad, Goa's most active women's group, told IANS Sunday that comments made by Parrikar Friday night in his speech at the annual general body meeting of the Goa State Industries Association was an insult to all women.

"The comments were arrogant and insensitive. It completely demeans the victim of rape. But this is not the first time that the chief minister has shown his contempt for women's issues," Martins said.

On Friday, Parrikar had said: "If a woman is raped, she has to deal with enquiries only from one inspector, but if someone wants to start an industry they have to deal with 16 inspectors."

After making the comment, the chief minister told the media that he had made the comment on a lighter note.

Parrikar in his speech also said that he was working towards simplifying the process for setting up industrial units and curbing inspector raj by bringing down the number of inspectors involved in the process from 16 to six.

"Even his basic understanding of the trauma suffered by a rape victim is poor. She not only has to face the enquiry of one inspector, but has to narrate the story over and over again to counsellors, senior police officers, hospital authorities," Martins said.

She recalled an instance where Parrikar had accused all women's activists protesting against an increase in bar timings of having "an itch for media publicity" in Konkani, the region's language.

"If this is the kind of attitude towards rape victims at the top, imagine what signals it will send to those working at the lower levels of politics, bureaucracy and police," she said.

The comment comes in the wake of a report of assault on a woman who was first beaten up and then her private parts were smeared with chilli powder. Finally, the police refused to file a first information report for five days.

An FIR was registered Friday only after intervention by a women's NGO. An assistant police inspector was suspended for non-registration of the FIR and an enquiry was initiated.


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