Is Shraddha Walkar murder a ‘case of Love Jihad’? Union Minister Smriti Irani says THIS

New Delhi: Amid raging debate over the gruesome killing of Shraddha Walkar, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani has said that there is a need to discuss violence against women by intimate partners and the fact that there was not much that she could get in terms of help. Aftab Amin Poonawalla (28) allegedly strangled Walkar (27) and chopped her body into 35 pieces, which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in south Delhi’s Mehrauli before dumping those across the city over several days past midnight. Walkar was allegedly killed in May.

Speaking at a session at a private event, Irani stressed on the need for discussion on violence against women by intimate partners.

“Nobody cuts a woman into small pieces in the heat (of the moment). Nobody continues to beat a woman who he claims to love or is in a relationship with in the heat of the moment,” she said.

The fact that the abuse was continuous, the fact that the abuse was known to so many people, and the fact that there was not much that she could get in terms of help is an issue which needs to be elaborately reflected on by people at large, because violence by intimate partner and violence by members of the family of a women is something that is aggressively reported in the National Crime Records Bureau, Irani said.

“So…When we speak about women security then there is need to discuss violence against women by intimate partners,” she said. Noting that earlier it was thought that a man will beat up women if he is not educated, Irani said that now it has been seen that domestic violence is not an issue that is only related to men who are not well-educated. This is as much an urban phenomenon as it was presumed to be a rural phenomenon, she said.

“The issue is who are the people at the workplace, in families who knew that she is being violated and beaten and threatened and were somehow compelled not to help. It is very easy to tell a woman that if you are being beaten then leave the man but whoever has spoken to such victims knows that the mental fear is such that she will not be able to take a step even if let free,” she said.

Irani also stressed the need to focus on the person who killed her and not to deviate from it. When asked if it was a case of love jihad, Irani said, “I think we are simplifying a very heinous crime.”

“In 2009, love jihad as a terminology was founded by the Kerala High Court. There was a high court in our country in the year 2009 when the BJP was not in power at the Centre which actually acknowledged the word love jihad which actually acknowledged that the girls were targeted because they belonged to a Christian or Hindu family. They were targeted so that they could be brought into a relationship and then converted,” she said.

When asked about legislation brought against ‘love jihad’ by some BJP-ruled states, Irani said, “When you defraud a woman with the intent of bringing her into a fraudulent relationship, compelling her emotionally, physically so that she has no escape…You are telling me a BJP-rule state which has been voted into a position of responsibility cannot exercise its right to bring about a legislation to protect such women. When did the whole focus shift from that victim.”

On the case of AAP leader Satyendar Jain getting a “massage” by a rape accused, Irani said it is “mind-numbing.” “It has never happened in Indian politics and the chief minister suddenly has no words,” she said.

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