The string of rape cases reported from Unnao, Kathua and Surat have not only shaken our conscience as a nation and brought us out on the streets, they have also travelled far and wide around the world and invoked the ire of global leaders. The latest to condemn the law and order situation in India is International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde – who felt the need to talk about the state of affairs during a meeting of various international finance organisations.
Calling the incidents “revolting,” she urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pay more attention to women’s safety in India. “What has happened (in India) is just revolting. I would hope that the Indian authorities, starting with Prime Minister Modi, pay more attention because it is needed for the women of India,” she said, according to a PTI report, at a press meet convened to mark the start of the spring meeting of the international finance organisations.
This is not the first time that the IMF chief has chosen to call out PM Narendra Modi’s lackadaisical attitude towards the issue of women’s safety, and the lip service the ruling party tends to provide when it comes to accountability and taking stern action. She mentioned she had had a word with Modi about this at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January as well.
She had pointed out to him, after his speech, that it was surprisingly devoid of women’s issues in India. “When I was last in Davos after Prime Minister Modi’s speech, I did tell him that he had not mentioned the women of India enough. And it’s not just a question of talking about them,” the managing director of IMF said.
She went on to clarify that she was speaking in a personal capacity, and not as the IMF chief, or on behalf of the organisation, indicating she was not obligated to say something, but felt the need to anyway because of how horrific the incidents were. “By the way, this is not an IMF official position. It is my position,” PTI quoted her saying.
The Prime Minister, on an international visit to strengthen business ties with the UK, not only took his time to make a statement, as if waiting to see if it would just blow over, but made one that lacked a sense of accountability and commitment. Therefore, Christine's comments add on to the general public opinion about Modi’s stance on the matter and the way he chose to react – too little, and too late.