New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi said today “India wants to know” when its daughters will get justice as he ‘thanked’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi for breaking his “long silence” on the Kathua and Unnao rape cases. “Dear Prime Minister, Thank you for breaking your long silence. You said ‘our daughters will get justice’. India wants to know: when?” Gandhi tweeted.
Gandhi’s tweet came soon after Modi said at an event in Delhi he wants to “assure the nation that no criminal will be spared” and justice will be delivered to its daughters, a statement seen as a reference to the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl in UP’s Unnao and of an 8-year-old girl in J&K’s Kathua. Earlier today, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Modi has done “too little, too late” over the two rape cases, but he said his party hoped the prime minister would now initiate tangible steps to provide justice to the victims.
Singhvi said the two incidents cannot be termed “normal cases” and these cases have shamed the nation. He also accused the BJP of viewing the cases through the “prism of religion” and demanded the sacking of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “We are very thankful to the prime minister that he has spoken at least, even if he spoke after three months of Kathua and after weeks of Unnao and even if he has spoken at the beck and call of opposition parties like us.
“I wish he will now convert his words into deeds… We want that the prime minister should initiate some steps. What matters is deeds count, words do not,” he told reporters. “Mere slogans and ‘jumlas’ will neither prevent nor reduce Unnaos and Kathuas,” he said.
The Congress reaction also came after several BJP leaders hit out at the opposition parties for “shedding crocodile tears” on the issue of safety of women. In the Kathua case, the rape victim had disappeared from near her house on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area.
A Special Investigation Team of Crime Branch, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable and a sub-inspector, who were charged with destroying evidence. In the Unnao case, a BJP lawmaker has been booked on various charges, including rape. Kuldeep Singh Sengar, MLA from Bangarmau constituency, was today arrested by the CBI.
Singhvi also alleged that the mentality and approach of the government, the BJP, the RSS and Modi was anti-Dalit. The Congress leader said the BJP can inaugurate as many memorials as they like, “but the fact is that they are reducing sub-plans, financial allocations”.
“You are robbing them of their scholarships, you are participating in conspiracies to dilute their reservations and then you are shedding crocodile tears in the name of Dalits,” he said. “Any attempt to rewrite history, erase history will not work,” he said.
Singhvi said Babasaheb Ambedkar was a part of the Congress and the freedom movement. “No one has done more in the name of Ambedkar than the Congress,” he said. He criticised BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi for defending two Jammu and Kashmir ministers, who had joined a rally against the police probe in the Kathua case.
“I strongly condemn the party, which sees even rape on religious and class lines. The person, the party and the government that look at rape through the prism of class and religion have to be criticised,” he said. On Twitter, the Congress said: “BJP’s MP Meenakshi Lekhi’s insensitive remark is an insult to Indian citizens standing up for their rights. Her statement reflects her party’s regressive ideology. She must take back her words and apologise immediately.” Singhvi demanded the sacking of Jammu and Kashmir Forest Minister Lal Singh and Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga, who he alleged instigated the protests in Jammu in support of the accused.