New Delhi: The government on Monday dismissed as “unwarranted” the statement of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in New Delhi, Renata Dessallien, who cited the recent incidents at Hathras and Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh to point out that women from disadvantaged social groups were at greater risk of gender-based violence in India.
Dessallien issued a veiled warning to New Delhi, stating that as the UN fought “the challenge of Covid-19 with the determination to build back better India, building respectful relationships devoid of prejudices and gender biases” was “a top priority.”
“The UN in India is profoundly saddened and concerned at the continuing cases of sexual violence against women and girls in India,” said Dessallien, adding, “The recent cases of alleged rape and murder in Hathras and Balarampur are another reminder that despite the impressive progress made on a number of social indicators, women and girls from disadvantaged social groups face additional vulnerabilities and are at greater risk of gender-based violence.”
Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), not only called the statement by the UN Resident Coordinator “unwarranted”, but also added: “Since the investigation process is still underway, any unnecessary comments by an external agency are best avoided.”
Read : After Increase In Rape Cases, UN In India Says Women From Weaker Sections Are At Greater Risk
He said that the UN Resident Coordinator in India should be aware that the recent cases had been taken extremely seriously by the government. “The Constitution guarantees equality to all citizens of India. As a democracy we have a time-tested record of providing justice to all sections of our society,” said the MEA spokesperson.
The UN Resident Coordinator in New Delhi noted that the steps being taken by the government of India to strengthen safety measures for women and girls were “welcome and urgent”. She also said that the UN in India supported the Prime Minister Narendra Modi call for strict action against the culprits (responsible for the alleged rape and murder at Hathras in UP.
“It is essential that authorities ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice speedily and that families be empowered to seek timely justice, social support, counselling, healthcare and rehabilitation,” she said in the statement. “Entrenched social norms and behaviour of men and boys that lead to gender-based violence must be addressed.”
She reiterated the commitment of the UN in India to provide “continued support” to the Modi government and the civil society to address violence against women.