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Rape can be verbal too

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With each passing day it is becoming increasingly clear that Indian politicians are probably the most shameless in the world. That much has been...

With each passing day it is becoming increasingly clear that Indian politicians are probably the most shameless in the world. That much has been proved by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s charge that the Maharashtra government’s “weakness” was responsible for the rape of a photo-journalist in Mumbai the other day by five persons. No government anywhere can prevent a rape; but every government would be expected to take the strictest action against convicted rapists. If the Maharashtra government had failed on that count, the Opposition and even the man in the street would have been justified in demanding the resignation of the Government.

But even the worst critics of the Government in that State are sure to admit privately that it displayed rare speed in arresting all the five alleged rapists. But the one party which has no right to criticize the Government is the Shiv Sena which has had to make one of its legislators resign from the post for what really was “verbal rape”, to borrow the expression coined by one of the leading Indian editors of the 20th century.

Anil Kadam tendered on Saturday his resignation to Thackeray (not to the Speaker of the Assembly!) for abusing and “threatening to disrobe female toll booth attendants” in his constituency. It was clearly an embarrassing situation for Uddhav who had earlier issued a statement demanding that the accused in the gang rape of the photo-journalist be taken out in a procession through the streets of Mumbai with their faces blackened.

But Uddhav had no answer when he was asked what action he planned to take against Kadam who, along with his supporters, had been caught on camera vandalizing the toll booth and abusing in the filthiest language possible the attendants most of whom were women, all for demanding toll from him. According to newspaper reports, generously using abusive words, Kadam, an MLA from Niphad constituency, was seen in a video saying “in spite of my saying that I am an MLA, you do not let the car pass. I am warning you; I will ask the women of my family to strip you”. He also warned that he would “make things difficult” for them as the toll booth operated in his area, and then ordered his aides to vandalize the booth!
Not out of remorse but out of the fear that the public anger whipped up by the gang rape of the photo-journalist might turn against him for having abused women attendants of the toll booth, he wrote on Facebook that it was the booth attendants who had first abused him using filthy language; and it was clear from the response, or the lack of it, that nobody believed his version which had been contradicted by a video grab.
Kadam can, however, draw solace from the fact that he has a kindred soul in Gujarat. A Congress legislator from Porbandar (to think that is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi!) had similarly threatened the staff of a toll booth in Gujarat, also for demanding toll from him! The only difference between the two cases is that the attendants were not women in that case. The Congress forced him to resign and he joined the BJP, and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi readily admitted him into the party! That is the stuff of Indian politicians in every party!
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