Lucknow : Amidst worrying reports of a rise in crime against women in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav’s latest assertion indicating that gangrape was ‘not possible’ has caused consternation among women’s groups and political leaders.
At a function in Lucknow on Tuesday, Mulayam showered praises on his chief minister son Akhilesh Yadav, quite unlike another recent public appearance when he had severely rebuked Akhilesh on the functioning of his government.
But at Tuesday’s function, he not only appeared to regret his earlier outburst but tried to gloss it over by saying it was an expression of his ‘concern’ at the opposition parties’ attempts to malign the SP government.
Then he commented on a recent incident of gangrape of a woman in Lucknow in which the victim was forcibly taken to a secluded corner of the Lucknow railway station, sexually assaulted and then dumped in a train. The Lucknow police arrested four persons in the case. However, Mulayam said that it was a travesty that only one person committed rape and four were arrested.
“One commits rape and then four more are named. Kabhi aisa ho sakta hai kya?
Aisa practical hi nahin hai. (Can such a thing happen? It is impractical),” Mulayam said.
He then went on to assert that Uttar Pradesh under his son’s government, was a ‘victim of smear campaign,’ and cited statistics to claim that the number of such cases was lowest in UP. “The population (of Uttar Pradesh) is 21 crore while that of Madhya Pradesh is 6 crore. There (in MP), the percentage of rape cases is 9.8 while in UP, it is 2. Moreover, in Rajasthan – also ruled by BJP, this percentage is 7. Don’t even ask about Delhi, I live there and know what happens. So, if there is one place with the lowest number of rapes, it is Uttar Pradesh,” Mulayam said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday alleged that Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has been repeatedly found to be making controversial remarks about the incidents of rape without even knowing the seriousness of it.
State BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the statement indicated his ‘insensitivity’ towards issues related to women. He also said that it was not correct to cite mere statistics to hide the poor law and order situation in the state.
A Congress spokesman also cited a recent statement by the state’s director general of police who admitted that there were many cases of reports not being registered by the police. “It would have been better if Mulayam had advised Akhilesh Yadav to take stern action against anti-social elements, instead of making such a statement.”
His statement made people recall another earlier statement by him in April last year related to crime against women, in which he had allegedly said that the demand for death sentence for violent rape was unjustified since it was a ‘mistake’ that boys often committed.
Later, during an election rally in Moradabad, he had even blamed girls for rape saying that girls first became friendly with boys and then when the relationship turned sour they blamed the boys as having raped them.