From ‘Snoopgate’ to Harassment Panel, Women’s ‘Safety’ a Key Concern for Amit Shah – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta
…First set up in October 2018 as a response to the Me Too movement, the GoM was quietly wound up without having accomplished anything. Originally headed by Rajnath Singh, the new panel comprises Amit Shah, HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,’ women and child development minister Smriti Irani and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The panel is intended to signal the government’s willingness to find remedies to instances of sexual harassment, stalking etc that are not covered by existing laws.
While Shah has clearly inherited the panel from his predecessor, the choice of the other GoM members has raised questions about the seriousness of the government’s intentions. Tapes of audio conversations between Shah and the top police officials who were deployed – apparently to keep the woman safe – were published by two investigative websites in 2013 and led the Congress, which was in power at the Centre, to accuse the minister of stalking the woman at the behest of an unnamed “saheb”, which it said was Modi.
Gujarat IPS officer G.L. Singhal, the police official whom Shah is heard instructing on the tapes, later told the CBI that the surveillance was carried out only on the oral instructions of Shah, and was not officially authorised. The 2009 recordings reveal that the woman was monitored everywhere – from shopping malls, restaurants, ice-cream parlours, gyms, cinema halls, hotels and airports to even a hospital in Ahmedabad, where she visited her ailing mother.…
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