Haryana women panel seeks explanation from Bhupinder Singh Hooda for sitting on tractor pulled by women

As a mark of protest against the rising fuel prices, Hooda had sat on a tractor that was pulled by Congress women MLAs while they were on their way to Vidhan Sabha on March 8.

Taking suo moto notice of the March 8 incident outside Haryana Vidhan Sabha where leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda sat on a tractor that was pulled with ropes by Congress women MLAs, Haryana State Commission for Women (HSCW) has sought Hooda’s “strict explanation” on the incident.

Citing news reports that showed pictures and videos of the incident, Preeti Bhardwaj Dalal, Chairperson (officiating) of the HSCW, has written to Hooda and sought his explanation within three days.

As a mark of protest against the rising fuel prices, Hooda had sat on a tractor that was pulled by Congress women MLAs while they were on their way to Vidhan Sabha on March 8.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and other BJP MLAs have also condemned the incident in the Vidhan Sabha, responding to which Congress MLA Shakuntla Khatak had defended Hooda and said that there was no difference between a man and a woman and there was nothing wrong if women MLAs pulled the tractor.

“This is in reference to the incident that occurred outside the premises of Haryana Secretariat on March 8, 2021. As known to the whole world, the day is celebrated as International Women’s Day 2021 and it instantly took the whole nation in the state of utter shock and surprise that the Leader of Opposition Party in the State and the Ex-chief minister of Haryana – is himself sitting on a tractor and that He-Man is being towed by your party MLAs, and it is repeated – Member of Legislative Assembly whom you misused were women MLAs,” the notice issued by HSCW read.

It added, “What is important to understand here is the fact that this act was committed with the ulterior motive and intention to harm, disrespect and strip the dignity of women on Women’s Day, itself. Your actions cannot be justified in any manner whatsoever – with regard to time, place, date, month, intention, motive, using other gender and also men – as you were towed by both. You have committed an act of gendered political violence with the motive to watershed the relevance of all events planned for 8th March International Women’s Day 2021.”

It further stated, “Sadly, you chose Women themselves – to commit this undignified and disrespectful act that has hanged the heads of one and all, irrespective of gender or party or any affiliations – in shame. Sadly, this was pre-planned with the intention when Haryana State Assembly was on its way of making a history – had a thoughtful and supreme gesture of making women MLAs presiding as Speakers on the most important Budget session of this year 2021. Sadly, it was your effort to watershed the sensitive efforts of State Legislative Assembly and in line with the ‘Theme of United Nations for International Women’s Day – Choose to Challenge’.”

Castigating Hooda for the incident, the commission’s chairperson further wrote, “You chose to challenge our existence – as women. You chose to challenge women MLAs of Haryana by attempting to strip them of their joy and presiding officers for a day. You chose to challenge each woman of Haryana at place in Haryana Secretariat which is temple of democracy, political power and the source of existence of laws for the State itself. You chose to challenge the Head of Government – chief minister of Haryana who was overwhelmed while explaining and making a point in context of this incident, next day before whole strength of Legislative Assembly. His helplessness – as a man was visible and efforts made by Government of Haryana for women empowerment, announcement of schemes for women and girls, awarding our S-heroes of Haryana seemed – irrelevant to lakhs of women of Haryana. Sadly, you too headed this same state of Haryana”.

She added, “You chose to challenge and you managed to play with the emotional connect that each person has with women in their lives – as grandmother, as mother, as daughter, as wife, as niece, as colleague, as party worker, as neighbour and a Goddess, too”.

Asking Hooda to reply within three days, the commission wrote, “Seek a strict written explanation from you as the Head and Leader of Opposition party in the State of Haryana — as to why strict penal action under Prevention of Women of Workplace Act 2013 and under Indian Penal Code may not be taken against you.”

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