Roopa Ganguly Is Unapologetic About Her Rape Comment
Actress turned BJP politician Roopa Ganguly’s life is in danger.She has for some time, been taking on Bengal’s Mamta Bannerjee government specially on the issue of the safety of women.
Roopa’s latest salvo on the issue of women’s safety has created more rage than outrage among Trinamool Congress ranks .
Said Roopa, “I dare all the parties, the ones who keep flattering the West Bengal government and the Congress, to send their daughters, sisters-in-law, wives to Bengal, without taking any hospitality fromMamata Banerjee. If they are able to survive there for 15 days without getting raped, then tell me.”
Trinamool leader Sovandev Chattopadhyay was quick to retaliate saying, “First of all, she should say how many times she has been raped in Bengal. Before accusing anything or anyone, she should reveal this. Then only the truth behind her statement will be realized.”
Now Roopa is being hounded with insults and the imminent danger of physical assault.
But when I spoke to her she was unrepentant fearless and on the way to Raiganj in the interiors of Bengal to attend a rally for a rape victim.
“The gentleman from Mamataji’s party who wanted to know how many times I’ve been raped in Bengal is a nice man. He was only trying to please his party’s high command.And even the woman who was the chairperson of the Women’s Commission….she would obviously like her tenure to be extended by Mamataji’s government, so she spoke against me.Anyone in Bengal who speaks against the Trinamool’s doings is an enemy. But even Mamtaji would react to the rising statistics of crime and rape against women with the same horror as I did, if she’s stop being a politician protecting her position to look at the problem as a woman. As for me, I am not afraid of being abused or beaten,” says Roopa who continues to travel into the interiors of Bengal unescorted.
Says Roopa, “I’ve been assaulted, brutally hit by Trinamool goons. There have been as many as 16-17 men assaulting me while three women have pinned me down so I couldn’t move. I’ve stood there feeling hard blows on my back and elsewhere. It’s not a pleasant situation to be in. And no woman, or for that matter man, would like to be humiliated and brutalized in this way. But I am not giving up. I will address myself to the plight of the unprivileged Bengali woman who is under threat constantly.”
It bothers Roopa that rape is being made a political issue. “Rape and the safety of women should concern every right-thinking person. It should be above all party ranks and political issues and also above state-level politics. I am appalled that I am being questioned as a BJP politician about rape cases in BJP-run states. What do they mean by asking me, ‘What about the rape in BJP states?’ A rape is a rape in any state.Instead of calling me names everybody in Bengal should be concerned about the rising crime against women in the State. Even as I made that statement on no woman being safe in Bengal, an 8-year old girl was raped as I spoke. There were 34,000 cases of atrocities against women reported during the last year. It shames me and shocks me that we politicize the issue of safety of woman.”
To what does Roopa attribute the rising crime rate against women in Bengal.
“Unemployment,” comes the immediate reply. “The men are jobless. The women they want to marry don’t want to be married to men without financial security. In frustration and rage they become predators.”
Roopa says her intrepid pronouncements on the law-and-order situation in Bengal has made her a sitting target for attack. “I am called a mad woman because I speak for all those women who do not have a voice in Bengal. There are numerous FIRs and cases against me. I am threatened all the time. Do I fear for my life? No. If I did I’d sit at home and not go out to meet another rape victim . As for my security , I don’t have any.What can a few security guards do to protect when I am attacked by dozens of goons?”
About the life she has chosen for herself Roopa has no regrets.
“The day I decided to get into politics I gave up my acting career completely. I had three films on the floors when I decided to devote myself to politics. I quickly completed those films and …here I am,” says the brilliant actress who once regaled the nation as Draupadi in B R Chopra’s serial on the Mahabarat and also gave stunning performances in films like Aparna Sen’s Yugant, Goutam Ghose’s Padma Nadir Majhi and Rituparno Ghosh’s Antar Mahal .
Roopa says her husband and family are fully supportive of her political career.
“They don’t stand with me when I am being showered with blows. But they are with me all the way and they don’t hesitate in correcting me when I am going wrong. I just hope Bengal would awake to the growing crime rate against women before it’s too late,” ends Roopaas she boards her flight to meet one more rape victim.