London: India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour, according to a poll of global experts released .
War-torn Afghanistan and Syria ranked second and third in the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of about 550 experts on women’s issues, followed by Somalia and Saudi Arabia.
The only Western nation in the top 10 was the United States, which ranked joint third when respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex.
The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 that found experts saw Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia as the most dangerous countries for women.
Experts said India moving to the top of poll showed not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced, more than five years after the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi made violence against women a national priority.
“India has shown utter disregard and disrespect for women … rape, marital rapes, sexual assault and harassment, female infanticide has gone unabated,” said Manjunath Gangadhara, an official at the Karnataka state government.
“The (world’s) fastest growing economy and leader in space and technology is shamed for violence committed against women.”
Government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by 83 percent between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour.
The survey asked respondents which five of the 193 United Nations member states they thought were most dangerous for women and which country was worst in terms of healthcare, economic resources, cultural or traditional practices, sexual violence and harassment, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
Respondents also ranked India the most dangerous country for women in terms of human trafficking, including sex slavery and domestic servitude, and for customary practices such as forced marriage, stoning and female infanticide.
India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development declined to comment on the survey results.
Afghanistan fared worst in four of the seven questions, with concerns over healthcare and conflict-related violence.
Kimberly Otis, director of advancement at Women for Afghan Women, said women and girls faced severe gender-based violence, abuse, illiteracy, poverty, and other human rights offences.
“The ongoing war and conflict are getting worse in Afghanistan, which puts the lives of women and girls at increasing risk,” said US-based Otis, a survey participant.
Afghanistan’s Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said the deteriorating security situation was making life difficult for women, with large parts of the country still in the control of Taliban fighters after nearly 17 years of war.
“Nowadays, suicide bombings and armed conflict is the third (highest) cause of deaths and disability in Afghanistan,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview in London.
“Instead of focusing (spending) on maternal health, on nutritional status, we spend it on trauma.”
The impact of a seven-year war drove Syria into third place in the survey, amid concerns over access to healthcare and both sexual and non-sexual violence.
“There are so many dangers for girls and women,” said Maria Al Abdeh, executive director of Women Now For Development, which supports women’s centres in Syria.
“There is sexual violence by government forces. Domestic violence and child marriage are increasing and more women are dying in childbirth. The tragedy is nowhere near an end.”
Somalia, where more than two decades of war has fuelled a culture of violence and weakened institutions meant to uphold the law, was again named as one of the five most dangerous countries for women.
‘This Lok Sabha election was like pilgrimage for me,’ says Modi
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told his ministerial colleagues that this Lok Sabha election was like a pilgrimage for him.
Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “PM Modi said that he has seen many elections but this election’s campaign did not seem like a campaign. He said it was like a pilgrimage for him.”
“Terming the completion of the NDA government’s tenure as a successful experiment, PM Modi said the alliance should be further strengthened,” Tomar said.
PM Modi on Tuesday had a meeting with the members of his Council of Ministers and congratulated them for successfully working as a team for the last five years.
The 2-hour long meeting was attended by all the ministers, who on their part congratulated PM Modi for the development works that the government did in the last five years under his leadership.
Fully confident to return to power, Union Minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur said: “We are 110 per cent forming the next government. The opposition is staring at their defeat.”
On the allegations about drawbacks in electronic voting machines (EVMs), Kaur said: “When they won the Assembly polls in three states, EVMs were good for them but when the exit polls have shown their defeat, they have started blaming EVMs.”
Seeking apologies for their baseless allegations against PM Modi, Giriraj Singh said: “Opposition parties should apologise to the public for their baseless allegations. They have won elections when it was conducted by EVMs in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Delhi.”
Predicting more than 300 seats for BJP and 350 plus for the NDA, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said: “Scared of defeat, the opposition parties indulged in violence and bloodshed. They are not able to digest the defeat.”
Union Minister and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan also thanked PM Modi for running a strong government at the Centre for five years.
EC wants to set new precedent of ‘dark secrets’, ‘secluded chambers’: Cong
New Delhi: A day before the counting of the votes polled in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Wednesday termed as “constitutional travesty” the EC’s rejection of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded and alleged that the poll watchdog wanted to set a new precedent of “dark secrets” and “secluded chambers” in performing its duties.
“A Constitutional travesty! ECI wants to set a new precedent of ‘dark secrets’ & ‘secluded chambers’ in doing its constitutional duties. If CEC can’t play fair in its functioning, can it play fair in ensuring a free & fair election?,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote on Twitter.
His comments came a day after the Election Commission (EC) decided not to record the dissents put forward by the members of the “full commission”, overruling Lavasa.
On Tuesday, the poll panel rejected with a majority vote Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded in its orders on model code violations, days after the simmering tension within the EC over the issue came out in the open.
The “full commission” of the panel, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two other members — Lavasa and Sushil Chandra — deliberated on the contentious issue, after which the EC said dissent notes and minority views would remain part of the records but would not be part of its orders. Lavasa had dissented on a series of clean chits given by the EC to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on their speeches during the election campaign.
As his demand for recording his dissent notes in EC’s orders was not met, Lavasa recused himself from cases relating to violations of the Model Code of Conduct. The counting of votes for the just-concluded, seven-phased Lok Sabha polls will be taken up on Thursday.
Pawar plays matchmaker, looks for new partners for a non-BJP front
Mumbai: The Opposition’s leading players are reaching out to other political leaders who can swing numbers in case the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) falls short of majority. The exit polls, however, predicted otherwise.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar has played a role of matchmaker between various parties for a non-BJP front.
Pawar has reached out to YSR Congress’s Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K Chandrasekhar Rao and Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, reported NDTV.
According to Hindustan Times report, the functionary said KCR confirmed to Pawar that his party would be open to supporting the United Progressive Alliance in the event of a hung Parliament.
He had reportedly made calls for support in case Opposition gets a chance to form the government. He has been in touch with Chandrababu Naidu who has been touring across nation for discussion with leaders including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BSP’s Mayawati, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
On Tuesday, Chandrababu Naidu met Karnataka Chief Minsiter HD Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda of JD(S), which is in alliance with Congress.
Jagan Reddy is yet to return calls from the opposition. Reddy is also being pursued by the NDA.
Last year, Naidu broke the alliance with NDA over the delay of granting special status to Andhra Pradesh.
Exit polls on Sunday predicted over 300 of Lok Sabha’s 543 seats for the NDA, well past the majority mark of 272. The Congress and its allies were given 122 and non-aligned parties, 114.