BJP government disrespected Indian women: Rahul Gandhi

BJP government disrespected women by arguing they don't deserve command posts in Army: Rahul Gandhi

 Rahul Gandhi. (AFP file photo)

The Congress on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on leadership roles for women in the armed forces, with Rahul Gandhi alleging the BJP government disrespected Indian women by arguing in court that they did not deserve command posts as they were inferior to men.

It termed the verdict a "victory" for every citizen who believes in equality bereft of sexes and a "defeat and rejection" of the Narendra Modi government and its "myopic thinking and thought process dating back to the 17th century".

While Gandhi lauded the women for standing up and proving the government wrong, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the verdict has opened new vistas and new doors to India's daughters and urged Prime Minister Modi to not wait for three months and implement it immediately.

Their attack on the BJP government came after the Supreme Court opened the way for women in command positions in the Army and directed the Centre to grant permanent commission to all women officers within three months, while calling for an end to gender bias in the armed forces.

"The government disrespected every Indian woman, by arguing in the SC that women Army officers didn't deserve command posts or permanent service because they were inferior to men," Gandhi said on Twitter. He also attached to his tweet a news report of the apex court's judgment in the matter.

At a press conference, Surjewala said, "The Congress welcomes the path-breaking and the historic judgment of the Supreme Court of India today ensuring complete equality giving permanent commission, combat role and a right to lead men and women in the Army to India's daughters."

"This is a victory for every citizen of this country who believes in equality bereft of sexes. This is a defeat of the Modi government and its myopic thinking and thought process whereby it argued before the Supreme Court that men and women cannot be equal for combat roles, saying women are physically inferior," he said.

Surjewala said the government's argument that women have to cater to their household duties and which is why they are not fit for command and combat roles in the Army and that male sepoys and jawans will never accept leadership of women in the Army and armed forces are "myopic, backward 17th century arguments of BJP that were rejected".

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted saying the "landmark" judgment of the Supreme Court has given new wings of flight to women of the country.

"Women are capable -- in the Army, in valour and in water, land and the sky. This is befitting reply to the Modi government which is prejudiced against and opposed to the women power in the country," she tweeted in Hindi.

Surjewala said the historic verdict has opened the doors for the country's daughters to one more field in serving Mother India, and playing equal role in the armed forces.

"It (SC judgement) is a defeat for every such political or other force which seeks to distinguish between men and women presuming that women are inferior to men or have a second class status to men as was being argued by the Modi government in the court," he said.

The Congress leader said though the Supreme Court has given three months to the Centre to implement the verdict, "we urge upon the prime minister to not wait for three months and immediately implement this verdict".

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud termed "disturbing" the government's argument of physiological limitations and social norms for denying women officers command posts and said they had brought laurels to the country in the past.

Marking a milestone on the road to gender parity in the Army, the apex court bench called for a change of mindset on the part of the government to put an end to gender bias in the armed forces and said there will be no absolute bar on giving women command postings. 

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