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Whither Feminism?

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Rajya Sabha MP and former Chief of the Delhi Women Commission Swati Maliwal called the police twice from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence, seeking to be rescued. According to the police, she claimed to have been attacked by the CM’s Personal Assistant. That she visited a police station immediately after proves that there is substance to this allegation. However, since then, no report has been officially filed and a deep silence prevails on the news channels. The otherwise very vociferous AAP spokespersons seem to have gone into coma. Had it been a case involving the BJP even in far off Tamil Nadu, they would have been moralising at the top of their voices.

Suppose this had happened to some ordinary woman. The feminists, women’s commissions, journalists, political moralists, etc., would have been demanding all sorts of action from the police and other agencies. She would be advised to be ‘brave’ and outspoken for her fundamental rights, and not give in to social pressures. She would be required to rise above her personal fears or interests and strike a blow for all of womankind. These very people, who seek such sacrifice from the common folk, march however to a different drum when their own interests become involved.

It is truly ironic that Swati Maliwal has been the Chief of the Delhi Women Commission but has not been able to clear the air on the incident. Although, the present DWC Chief has stated that suo moto cognizance will be taken, there is concern that such an incident takes place in the corridors of power in the nation’s capital and, yet, remains unaddressed. Under such circumstances, how is a woman in a remote part of some tribal region for instance, be expected to receive justice?

It is not as if Maliwal is a nobody in the AAP echelons of power. She has risen at a young age to heights that take the usual political activist many years to achieve. Many AAP stalwarts are in the wilderness despite having done much more in the public sphere. The incident makes people wonder whether it was part of a political battle within the party and the police used as an instrument to apply pressure. The silence after the incident seems to indicate so. And, once again, the police will have more reason to doubt the credibility of such complaints in their normal, everyday response to appeals on their helpline. Women betrayed by their own, it can be said.