BJP says Odisha unsafe for women, children; BJD dismisses charges

Opposition BJP has alleged that Odisha has turned unsafe for women and children and that the BJD government’s claim about women empowerment in the state is “hollow”.

Atrocities against women in the state has recorded an alarming rise in recent years and the situation is the same in the case of children, particularly the minor girls, Odisha BJP Mahila Morcha president Smruti Pattnaik said.

The ruling BJD dismissed the charges and said its efforts to empower women through the SHG movement has been appreciated by the BJP government at the Centre itself, besides Niti Aayog and the United Nations.

Dubbing BJD government’s claim about women’s empowerment in Odisha as “hollow”, Pattnaik told a press conference on Tuesday, While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced several welfare schemes for women, the BJD government of Naveen Patnaik has been utilising members of self help groups for political purposes.

The government, she claimed, is giving benefits to only a particular section of women who campaign for the ruling party and cited the instance of agitating Anganwadi and ASHA workers who are staging demonstrations here braving the cold weather.

Odisha has become completely unsafe for children amid spurt in kidnapping incidents, Pattnaik said at a press conference here on Tuesday and quoted figures from the 2021 report of the National Crime Record Bureau.

She claimed that the rate of conviction in cases of atrocities against women is “abysmally low” in the state – only 8.3 per cent in Odisha compared to the national figure of 26.51 per cent.

Mentioning the NCRB figures, Pattnaik said 23,183 crimes against women were recorded in Odisha in 2019, which increased to 25,499 in 2020. In 2021 the number rose sharply to 31,352.

The BJP leader claimed that more than 1600 children have gone missing in the last five years in the state and there has been increase of 42 per cent in its number in 2022 compared to that of 2021.

The BJP, she said, will launch a two-day awareness campaign in the state highlighting the welfare schemes for women launched by the prime minister and how the BJD is using them for its political purposes. Thirtysix prominent women leaders of the saffron party will visit all the districts of Odisha to make women aware of their rights and the way BJD was using them.

Countering Pattnaik’s charges, BJD spokesperson Lelin Mohanty Wednesday said the party believes in empowering women and is the only party in the country which “prioritises the political space for women from the panchayat till Parliament”.

He said empowering 80 lakh women through the SHG movement has transformed the scenario in the state and women in Odisha have become the harbingers of change.

Agreeing that crime against women is definitely a cause of concern, he said it can only be addressed by empowering 50 per cent of the population (the women).

“Let national parties not look at it (crime against women) from a political prism … It will be better if we work unitedly instead of having a perpetual habit of bringing false allegations for petty political gains,” he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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