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Ridiculous to blame woman’s attire for rape, says BJP minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Senior BJP leader and Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that it is ridiculous to blame the attire of women for rising incidents of rape cases. Speaking at an event in Delhi, the minister wondered why elderly women and toddlers become victims of sexual abuse if womens clothes were to blame for the atrocities. She said that law enforcement agencies need to provide security to women proactively. Then why does rape happen of elderly people? Why does rape happen of toddlers? Sitharaman noted that most of the time, perpetrators of such crimes know the victim. Sitharamans statement comes in the backdrop of several leaders and panchayats blaming the dress of women for rising cases of sexual abuse. In Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, several panchayats have even banned girls from wearing western outfits and carrying mobile phones. Sitharamans remark comes amid rising incidents of crime against women across the country. Several cases have been reported in recent time in which victims are minor. The brutal gangrape and murder case in Kathua triggered nationwide outrage last month, forcing the government to amend the POCSO Act. Despite several promises made by the government after the 2012 Nirbhaya case, there has been no change in the situation. According to NCRB data, the slow rate of conviction in rape cases is a major concern despite changes brought in the laws by the governments. It said that a total of 3,29,243 cases of crime against women were registered in 2015 of which 34,651 were cases of rape. In 2016, 3,38,954 cases of violence were reported including 38,947 rape cases. The NCRB data showed that 15,450 cases came up for hearing in 2016 and just 331 ended up in conviction.