Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday hit out at a member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Chandramukhi Devi, for her remark a day earlier that the gang rape and murderous assault on a woman in Badaun would not have happened if she had not stepped out alone in the evening or if she were accompanied by a child.
Priyanka Gandhi slammed the NCW member for making the victim-blaming remarks while talking about the Budaun gangrape.
"Will we be able to ensure women's safety with this behaviour? Members of the Women's Commission are blaming the victim for the rape. The Budaun administration is concerned about who leaked the post-mortem result of the victim," Gandhi said in a Facebook post.
"Remember that at this time, the victim of Moradabad is fighting a battle against death in another horrific rape case. Women will not forgive this administrative system and this disgrace," she added.
Earlier, National Commission for Women member Chandramukhi Devi had visited the village of the 50-year-old gang-rape victim in Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday and stirred a hornet's nest by saying that the crime would not have happened had the woman not stepped out alone in the evening.
She had reportedly blamed the victim for the incident saying that if she had not gone out by herself, maybe it would not have happened.
"This is a crime that has shamed humanity, but I would also like to say that women should not step out alone at odd hours. I feel that had the woman not stepped out in the evening, or one of her children had accompanied her, the incident would not have happened," the NCW member had allegedly said.
"If the police would have shown swiftness in the matter, perhaps they could have saved the victim," she added.
Chairperson of the NCW Rekha Sharma later condemned Devi's comments, saying that women have the right to move out whenever and wherever they want to.
Responding to a Twitter user asking her if she stood by the statement, Sharma replied "No I don't...I don't know how and why the member has said this but women have all the right move on their will whenever and wherever they want to. It's society and state's duty to make places safe for women." Meanwhile, all three accused in the case have been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
The victim had gone to a temple on Sunday evening and was gang-raped and brutally assaulted by the temple priest and his accomplices. She was dropped outside her home in a critically injured condition by two men on Sunday night. She later succumbed to her grievous injuries.
(With inputs from agencies)