This Article is From Mar 20, 2013

'Who amongst us has not followed girls?': Sharad Yadav's shocker during anti-rape bill debate

New Delhi: While Parliament was debating tough, new laws for crimes against women today, several politicians made remarks that were not only shocking and unflattering, but also undermined the seriousness that the new anti-rape bill called for.

"Who amongst us have not followed girls?" said Janata Dal(United) chief Sharad Yadav in the Lok Sabha today amid peals of laughter. Mr Yadav was referring to the provisions of stalking and voyeurism in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, that, he said, was prone to being misused against men.

He further said that the legislation would deter people from providing hiring women, fearing false cases. "People will be scared to give jobs to women," he said, citing the misuse of the anti-dowry law.

And, as if to buttress his point, he cited the instance of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who he claimed had deliberately not spoken on the same issue, fearing criticism. The SP was one of many parties on whose suggestions the government had agreed to water down stalking and voyeurism, which have been criminalised for the first time.

In fact, another MP from the Samajwadi Party, Shailendra Kumar, criticised the attire worn by women in TV serials and films during the debate in the Lok Sabha. The remarks invited protests from film actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada, an independent member of parliament.