Why Kirron Kher's statement on Nirbhaya documentary makes sense

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One of the darkest days the country witnessed has come back to haunt us. December 16 2012, the day when 23-year-old medical student Nirbhaya was gangraped in a moving bus by six men shook the entire country.

People of all ages not just in India but also abroad were shocked at the nature of the incident and were out on the streets demanding justice for Nirbhaya, who died two weeks later in Singapore while receiving treatment due to injuries inflicted on her.

Kirron Kher makes bold statement in Parl

Why has the past come back to haunt us

British filmmaker Leslee Udwin's documentary 'India's Daughter' features one of the accused, Mukesh Singh's interview has sparked off a controversy in India. In the documentary, Singh shows no remorse and infact blames Nirbhaya for the rape and says that 'a girl is far more responsible for the rape than a boy.'

The documentary has interviews of Nirbhaya's parents, doctors, lawyers and Singh. While many feel that airing of the documentary on Indian television would be an insult to Nirbhaya and her family, many feel that it would actually reveal the real mindset of a rapist.

Kirron Kher makes a bold statement in Parliament

During the debate in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, March 5 many women politicians expressed their anger over the broadcast of the documentary on Indian television. They demanded a ban on the screening of the documentary.

However it was BJP MP from Chandigarh, Kirron Kher whose statement not only highlighted the other side of the story but also pointed out at the mindset of the society. Kher said that more than the ban, the House should focus on the 'mindset.' "What those people said, is what we should concentrate on," she said.

"Two and a half years have passed by and they (accused) have not learnt anything. He says girls must not go out after 7 pm, she should wear particular kind of clothes. Why everything rests on a woman," she questioned.

"The right to consent, the right over her body remains with a women. No one has the right to blame her for such incidents and no one can tell her not to carry a mobile phone or wear jeans. How is jeans even related to the incident.

Kher: Right to consent, the right over her body remains with a women

Women who wear burqa get raped, women who wear a saree are also being raped. This is the thinking unfortunately," she added.

She said that the mindset needs to be changed at the grassroot level. "People needs to understand right from childhood they need to respect women, they must realise consent belongs to the women and the right to how she dresses and speaks belongs to her," she said.

Why Kirron Kher's statement makes sense

Kher said that the accused had not learnt anything in two and a half years. In fact he says that it was the woman's fault that she was out late at night. This statement however is not new to us. Many times politicians have made such insensitive comments saying that 'it was the fault of the girl, she was out late, she was wearing provocative clothing.'

Kirron Kher's statement represents a lot of women who feel the same but have no platform to voice their opinion. It is not the clothing that invites rapists, it is the mindset that needs to change. Whether the documentary needs to be banned or not is debatable, but what needs to be done is stricter laws need to be implemented, with fastrack courts that actually 'fastrack' such cases.

One would think that living in jail and being awarded death penalty would actually make the accused repent for his crime, but Singh shows no remorse, has no fear for anything.

Women are not just meant to do household work, like Kher says. It is time that we make gender-sensitisation a priority.

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