BHOPAL : Even as the political leadership in Uttar Pradesh is inviting flak for bizarre statements on recent rapes, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur has created a new controversy by defending Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Describing the UP leadership as “bechare (helpless),” the BJP leader said, “What can Mulayam and Akhilesh do to prevent rapes?”
He further dwelt on the theme of political inaction in an interface with media and asserted that no government can prevent rape and action can be taken only after the act.
His remark elicited an angry reaction from the Congress, which said that he has no right to continue in office.
Unfazed, Gaur went on: “It is a social crime which depends on the man and the woman. It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Unless a complaint is filed, nothing happens,” he said.
Not stopping with his social dissertation, the minister went on to elucidate that “It is not possible for any government to ensure that rape is not committed. Action can be taken only after the act is done.”
Interpreting rape as a social malady, the minister underscored the need for women to become mentally and physically tough, so that they could defend themselves. His recipe: “Women should learn judo and karate. Unless a person wants, no one can dare touch her.’
He also blamed easy access to porn movies and the trend of ‘item’ numbers as factors contributing to rise in rape. He also asked the media not to create hype and cited a TV interview of film actress Shilpa Shetty wherein she said that Richard Gere had kissed her once. The media lapped up the statement and played it out all day, Gaur pointed out.
Sharply reacting to his statement, Congress leader Manak Agarwal said that the Minister has no right to continue in office. By his statement, the minister had given encouragement to would be rapists, he said, adding that a home minister’s job is to provide protection to women and not to rapists.
The BJP immediately distanced itself from Gaur’s comments. Party leader Lalitha Kumaramangalam said these were his personal comments. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that he understands the gravity of the problem. He seems to be looking at it from a very orthodox point of view. This is certainly not the BJP stand. Empowerment and security for women is a very big challenge for us, especially given the current situation in several states.’’