Raje seeks debate on reducing age of consent
Kolkata, March 15 : BJP leader Vasundhara Raje Friday sought a debate on the union cabinet's decision to reduce the age of consent from 18 to 16 years.
"This is a question that is getting into everyone's hair at the moment and I think that it needs to be debated. So let's not take this to some kind of conclusion. I would rather have it done properly. So I don't want to get into this until I have debated it myself," Raje, the former chief minister of Rajasthan, said at an interactive session here.
"If you ask me I have certain rules within my family and it is something that women have to work out for themselves. We have to sit down and work this out and then we have to say what we feel about it to the government," she said.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, providing for stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape, has lowered the age of consent for sex from 18 to 16 besides making rape a gender sensitive crime where the perpetrator is male and the victim female. The bill was cleared by the union cabinet Thursday.
Raje said she would discuss the issue with the people in Rajasthan and then air her views.
"It's a very important subject and I think it is time that at every level they (women) should sit down and debate these things because these decisions cannot be taken in government without the feedback."
On the Dec 16 Delhi gang-rape incident, Raje said: "The incident makes us aware that it can happen to anyone of us. One's position perhaps does not make her more secure as a woman".
She said the government needed to be sensitive to the problem and mothers should stand up for their daughters.
"People in the government have to be sensitive. Streets must be made safer for everybody. We have to educate our girls (to defend themselves)."
"To educate women is the most important thing. It is very important that they stand up for their daughters," she said at the interaction organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation.
She also termed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as "dedicated and hardworking".