‘Can’t Be Insensitive About It’: PM Modi’s Past Comments on Rape

In 2014, PM Modi took a dig at the Congress saying, “Every time we turn the television on, we hear about rapes.” 

2 min read

Guess what Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first ‘Mann Ki Baat’ of 2018 was about? The girl child and the ‘Beti Bacho, Beti Padhao’ programme. Yes, he spoke about young girls (read guns) of India. He expressed his views on how women are Vidushis and have set an example in every field.

Whether it’s Nirmala Sitharaman becoming the first woman to hold the post of India’s Defence Minister or about Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, where more and more women are becoming self reliant by driving e-rickshaws – Modi spoke about all this and more.

But let’s back up a little to when Narendra Modi was not the Prime Minister of India.


Fierce Prime Ministerial Candidate Who Didn’t Miss a Chance

It’s not like PM Modi always chose to ‘not comment’ on rape incidents. In the run up to the 2014 General Elections, Modi made an appearance on a TV news channel and said:

For a moment, think like the victim or think like the victim’s kin. Will you still think that it’s not a big deal? Any Indian girl is like our own daughter. We are in the 21st century and we constantly hear such horrifying news about rapes in the country. 

That’s not all, in a rally in Chhattisgarh, the then Gujarat chief minister took a dig at the Congress government and commented on the law and order situation. He said the condition is so pathetic that whenever you switch the television on, all you hear about is gang-rapes across the country.

Modi’s Vision as PM: A Safe India That Empowers Women

In his first Parliament address as the prime minister, Modi said that his ‘vision for India’ is a country that's safe for women – where women are self-reliant, independent and empowered.

Fast forward to 2018. Four years later, the situation remains just as grim. India rose in protest once again as it did in 2012 when the Nirbhaya gang-rape shocked the nation.

An eight-year-old was gang-raped, brutalised and murdered in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. It took protests and outrage across the country to get the accused BJP MLA in the Unnao rape case finally arrested by the CBI. 

All the PM had to say was this:

Incidents being discussed since the past two days cannot be part of a civilised society. As a country, as a society, we all are ashamed of it. I want to assure the country that no culprit will be spared, complete justice will be done. Our daughters will definitely get justice.

Could he have spoken sooner? Yes.

But even when he did, could he have really ‘cracked a whip’?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
Read More