A member of the Uttar Pradesh Women's Commission, Meena Kumari, seems to have decoded the reasons behind numerous sexual assault incidents against women reported in the state. According to her, giving access to cellphone to girls is one of the primary reasons for rape incidents.
The women commission member made these remarks on Wednesday, June 9, during a public hearing of complaints related to women (Mahila Jansunwai) in Aligarh. Her response was to the question posed by a reporter over the increase in sexual assault cases in UP.
"Girls should not be given mobile phones. Girls talk with boys on phones for hours and later run away with them. Their phones are not even checked, and family members are unaware of these things," Times of India quoted her as saying.
In the video, Kumari can be heard saying that society needed to be more cautious to avoid such crimes against women. It is also a mothers' responsibility to monitor their daughters, where and with whom they are going, as their 'carelessness' is another reason for such crimes.
The clip has been widely circulated on social media, creating an uproar among netizens, saying she reflected a 'bad mindset' that instead encouraged crimes against women.
In her clarification, Kumari said she talked about minors and girls from rural areas who are not aware of the proper use of smartphones. "They use phones to make male friends and later run away with them," she said, adding that phones were also being used to watch inappropriate content.
When questioned over the link between the phone and the rape cases, Kumari said that seven-eight of them are related to friendships over phones of the 20 average cases she comes across daily. "In many cases, girls were lured to a certain place and then sexually assaulted," she told the media.