Kolkata: Rupa Ganguly, the prominent face of Bharatiya Janata Party in Bengal, used to be reckoned with pride, But may not any longer. Rupa’s rape comment, which many say, is uncalled for, asking supporters of Trinamool Congress, stationed out of Bengal, to send in their female family members for 15 days, without the Chief Minister’s support, to take an acid test of rape, has made her earn the ire of the Bengali Bhadralok, who once had been smitten by onscreen sensuality.
The Tollywood star, who shot to national fame for impeccably portraying Draupadi on Indian Television, during an interview to ANI said, “I dare all the parties, the ones who keep flattering the Bengal government and Congress, to send their daughters, wives, and sister-in-laws to Bengal without taking any hospitality from Banerjee. If they are able to survive for 15 days without getting raped, then tell me.”
Is Bengal’s BJP leaders trivialising rape?
Rupa, despite all, has been much loved by Bengalis. But her recent comment left most Bengalis rattled and hurt. Rupa’s comment, on a closer scrutiny, indicates how political parties actually trivialise a grave offence like violence against women, for political agenda. Anuradha Kapoor, a social activist, was quite vocal on this. She said, “Rape or any form of violence against women is a grave issue. It needs to be condemned and not used by political leaders to run down each other. Let me be clear on this point, no Indian state can boast of being crime free. Political leaders should try to eliminating social issues and malpractices and abstain from making such disgraceful comment. Keeping into account that this comes from the BJP Mahila Morcha head and Rupa Ganguly, makes it even more distasteful.”
She also, added that more than Bengal’s image being dented, she as a woman was shocked at how a woman was trivialising or speaking casually about violence against woman.
Damaging the image of Bengal
Many believe that BJP has an agenda, of damaging the non-communal image of the state. “Lost all respect for her! Even now, hoodlums in support of this party will come in support of it and defend this lady. If this is not a concerted effort to malign a place, then what is it?” questioned Anwesha Dutta.
Echoing a similar feeling was Asansol’s Basabi Sen. She said, “First they said, Bengal is mini Pakistan, then they circulated fake news and images to claim Hindus are under treat in this state, during the recent clash at Baduria. A lot more happens in other states. People are being lynched on train, families harassed and women raped. But these blind supporters keep turn a blind eyes to all those hate crimes, and now this comment from Rupa Ganguly.
“This makes it evident that BJP is targeting Bengal and trying to dent its image. Things will get worse with 2019 approaching,” Sen apprehended.
Shukla terms Rupa, power hungry sycophant
Reacting to her comment, cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla, said, “She is the face of BJP in Bengal. She should get her statistics right, before making such a derogatory remark about her own state. Bengalis won’t be fooled by power hungry sycophants, who can stoop down to such a level just to be in the limelight.” Shukla, who is an MLA from TMC and had defeated Rupa Ganguly only from Howrah North seat, posted on his Facebook wall, “It takes more integrity and courage to participate in the growth and development of the state than to resort to such cheap gimmicks.”
Salil Chatterjee, a college student, said, “As a Bengali, I condemn the statement made by her. BJP shouldn’t provocate Indians. They should rather try to maintain the national unity. It was indeed in bad taste.”
What NCRB says about rape cases in Bengal?
The National Crime Record Bureau’s 2016 report says that in the year 2015, West Bengal had the lowest number of rape cases. And unlike film star turned politician’s comment, four BJP ruled states top the list. Madhya Pradesh, where party is in power for 14 years now, has highest numbers of cases—4391 registered in the year. Maharastra is just behind with 4144, Rajasthan had 3644 and Uttar Pradesh is having fourth highest in rape crimes in India with 3025. Bengal had only 1199 rape cases reported. Mamata’s ruled state has also only 2.6 rate of the crime, while BJP ruled MP had 11.9.
Legal action against Rupa
Angered by her comment Bengalis are demanding legal action against her. Asansol’s Karabi Roy said, “I live in Bengal for 37 years and haven’t been raped. Probably, she too has never been raped in Bengal. I think strong legal action needs to be taken against her.”
Those thinking along the lines of Roy, went ahead and have even filed a First Information Report against her at Nimta Police station. However, the officer-in-charge Shibu Ghosh of Nimta Police station, didn’t want to divulge much. He said, “Yes, an FIR has been lodged against her. But we don’t want to reveal other details.”