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NCW chief’s verbal spat with US-based writer grows ugly

Published:

NEW DELHI: The

NCW chief

Rekha Sharma on Monday said that India demonstrates a

strong commitment

to the

safety of women

, evident in the continuous implementation of

stringent laws

over time. This came up in response to accusations of “defaming” India over the

gang-rape

of a Spanish woman in Jharkhand.
Following the alleged gang-rape of a Spanish tourist in Jharkhand’s Dumka district, writer David Josef Volodzko stated that he has cautioned his female friends against traveling to India alone.

Volodzko also referred to some incidents of abuse and harassment, including one related to a woman being groped.
“Did you ever report the incident to Police? If not than you are totally an irresponsible person. Writing only on social media and defaming whole country is not good choice,” Sharma said in response in a post on X.

In response, Volodzko pointed out that Sharma has herself faced criticism for not addressing complaints filed by women’s rights groups regarding credible allegations of women being publicly stripped naked, beaten by mobs, and raped in public.
“And yet here she is with the gall to accuse me of defaming India. Sharma, it is you who defame India by presiding over a group called the National Commission for Women and doing nothing about the issue…and then criticizing people like me for drawing attention to this important matter,” he said.

The war of words continued to escalate.
Responding to the post, Sharma said “To vilify an entire country with a tweet is not only in poor taste but also unacceptable, as data speaks otherwise. As much as this incident needs to be condemned and perpetrators brought to justice, let me share a few statistical indicators and request you to remove this tweet.”

According to data, she said, over six million tourists arrive in India every year, many of them single women.
“… and they holiday safely as India takes the safety of women very seriously, evidenced by its implementation of stringent laws over time. India views sexual assault as a very serious crime, and so should countries that, until now, have not considered date rape as a criminal offense,” Sharma said.
She further stated that the NCW unequivocally condemns the incident in Dumka and had reached out to the victim within hours of the complaint being registered.
“I would like to reiterate my point that, it is important to file an FIR when a crime is committed so that perpetrators can be caught in time. I am looking into this case personally and will extend all the help that it required from NCW,” she added.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP-elect and journalist Sagarika Ghose criticized Sharma, stating that the NCW chief had once again displayed arrogance of power and a shocking lack of concern for women.
“A country is defamed when women are assaulted, not when such crimes are reported so that justice may be delivered and the guilty punished. The NCW is engaging in victim shaming of the most atrocious kind,” Ghose said in a post.

Sharma said in reply, “Sagarika just for the sake of opposing you are writing this without proper information. @NCWIndia took suo moto immediately when Dumka incident came in light”.
“My member visited and met the survival within few hours and is still there to see that all 7 accused gets arrested. I personally spoke to the survival and extended all help,” she said.
Sharma also took a jibe at Ghose over the Sandeshkhali violence, saying, “By the way since you are from West Bengal did you visit Sandeshkhali and meet women complainants?”

(With inputs from agencies)

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