India’s opposition leader Rahul Gandhi launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday after a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll found the country was seen as the most dangerous for women in the world, calling it a “shame”. India topped the poll of experts in women’s issues due to the high risk of sexual violence and slave labour, while war-torn Afghanistan and Syria ranked second and third followed by Somalia and Saudi Arabia.
“While our PM tiptoes around his garden making yoga videos, India leads Afghanistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia in rape and violence against women!” Gandhi tweeted, referring to a video that Modi posted in May, accepting a fitness challenge. “What a shame for our country!” said the Congress party chief.
The survey – that repeated a similar poll in 2011 in which India was ranked fourth – sparked a storm of criticism in India, with social media users, celebrities and campaigners echoing Gandhi and slamming the rightwing government. Bollywood director Alankrita Shrivastava, whose last film “Lipstick Under my Burkha” was lauded for its examination of women and sexuality, posted the poll findings on Twitter.
Child kidnap rumours spark attacks
Indian police urged people Wednesday not to believe false rumours spread on WhatsApp after a woman was killed and a dozen hurt in the latest mob attacks to leave authorities looking powerless. In the worst of the five assaults in the western state of Gujarat on Tuesday, a destitute woman, Shantadevi Nath, and three others were attacked by around 100 people in the main city Ahmedabad.
“Half a dozen people surrounded the women as they were about to board an autorickshaw and started questioning them. Soon the crowd swelled and pulled Shantadevi and her companions out of the rickshaw and started thrashing them,” police official JA Rathwa told AFP. “People in the crowd rained punches and kicked the four women. Some even hit them with sticks and pulled them by
their hair.” The women were finally rescued by local traffic policemen and taken to hospital but Nath, 45, was declared dead on arrival. The same viral message which sparked that incident, warning that 300 people had descended on Gujarat looking to abduct and sell children, appears to have triggered four other mob attacks there the same day.