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‘Rape in India’ jibe: BJP seeks Rahul Gandhi’s apology

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 13, 2019 Published on December 13, 2019

Union Minister Smriti Irani and other BJP members protest over Rahul Gandhi's remarks on rape.   -  PTI

The last day of the Winter Session of Parliament ended in a burst of angry protests from BJP’s women MPs led by Union Minister Smriti Irani who demanded that former Congress President Rahul Gandhi be punished for his remark that instead of “Make in India, BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned the country into ‘rape in India’.”

Gandhi, on his part, came back with a stern, “I will never apologise to them.”

The BJP’s protest consumed the scheduled business of Lok Sabha and forced Speaker Om Birla to adjourn the proceedings twice.

Smriti slams Opposition

Smriti Irani was the most aggressive among the bunch of women MPs who stood around the Well of the House, asking the speaker Om Birla to “punish” Gandhi for what the Union Minister said was his attempt to turn a “heinous crime like rape as a tool to mock his political opponents”.

Gandhi reiterated his comment made at an election rally in Jharkhand, which outraged the BJP MPs and asserted that he would not apologise.

“I have a clip in the phone in which Narendra Modi is calling Delhi the “rape capital”. The main issue is that the BJP, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have set the North East on fire. To distract from that, they are attacking me on a non-issue. I want to reiterate what I said. I said – “Narendra Modi said there will be make in India. But when we glance through the newspapers every day, we only say Rape in India.” That is what I said. The fact is that in the BJP-ruled States, women are being raped. In the Unnao rape case, the girl’s car was attacked. The fact is that Modi spreads violence — in the North East, in Kashmir and against women. And the economy, which was our biggest strength, has now been destroyed. So far as my apology is concerned, I will never apologise to them,” said Gandhi.

‘Politicising rape’

Irani accused Gandhi of politicising rape.

“The leader of a party gives a clarion call for raping women in India. It is for the first time in history that the scion of the Gandhi family has asked women to be raped. Is it his statement that every man wants to rape women in India? Are all men rapists? A Member of this House is uttering such sentences; he is asking women to be raped. Rahul Gandhi should be punished for committing this sin. Come, rape in India. He is using rape as a political tool to mock his opponents,” said Irani.

Union minister Rajnath Singh stating that leaders like him have no “moral right” to be in Parliament. Amid the din in the House, DMK’s Kanimozhi defended Gandhi and

said he did not make the remarks in the House and that he was referring to cases of sexual assaults and violence against women in the country.

Earlier in the morning, as the ruckus continued for around half-an-hour, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings till noon. Question Hour could not be taken up. More than 30 members from the BJP, including Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur, were seen standing in the aisle and shouting slogans. Congress members, too, were in the aisle.

PTI adds: Meanwhile, a delegation of BJP’s women parliamentarians including Union minister Smriti Irani on Friday approached the Election Commission and demanded “strongest possible action” against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his comment on rape.

Irani charged Gandhi with using rape as a “political tool” in the wake of Assembly polls in Jharkhand.

 

Published on December 13, 2019
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