Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said daughters not only have the right to live in India but also have the right to honour, amid the flood of sexual harassment allegations on social media in the #MeToo campaign, reported the Hindustan Times.
“Some narrow-minded people considered a girl child as unwanted and killed them in the wombs,” Modi said, referring to the banned practice of foeticide. “Many innocent lives found their right to live. [But] the meaning of life is not just breathing. Honour is equally important.”
Modi was speaking about the government’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” scheme at a function of the National Human Rights Commission. He claimed that the campaign has led to an increase in the number of girl children in Haryana and Rajasthan – two states infamous for female foeticide.
Modi said that the government has come up with several schemes to ensure the safety of women, including providing security to those working on night shifts, IANS reported. “The government has worked towards removing legal barriers for women working on night shifts and also endeavoured to provide them adequate security,” he said.
The prime minister’s comments came hours after Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said that the Ministry of Women and Child Development will set up a committee to look into matters arising from the #MeToo campaign. The committee will comprise senior members from the judiciary and the legal fraternity, and will look into the framework in place to handle complaints of harassment at work.
Gandhi said that cases of sexual harassment at work must be “dealt with a policy of zero tolerance” and that men who indulge in sexual harassment need to be named and shamed first.
Since October 5, dozens of women have gone public with allegations of sexual harassment, including against eminent names in the media, film and music industry, and minister MJ Akbar as well. On Friday, Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal joined the chorus asking for Akbar to be sacked.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party Women’s Wing chief Lata Kelkar on Friday said that women journalists are not that innocent as to be misused by anyone, ANI reported. But welcoming the #MeToo campaign, Kelkar said it had strengthened women to make public the sexual harassment against them.