A woman minister in the Bhoopinder Singh Hood government has on Friday made a controversial claim that the rising number of rapes in the state were a "conspiracy" against the Haryana state.
Haryana's social welfare, education, and women and child welfare minister Geeta Bhukkal said, "I believe that the way in which the statistics (on rapes) are being projected for Haryana, it is a conspiracy against the state. Such incidents (rapes) are taking place not only in Haryana but also in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and other states."
"It is a matter of concern for all. We don't want such incidents to happen. It is not a political issue or the responsibility of the government alone. Everyone should be concerned about it," Bhukkal said.
Before Bhukkal, Haryana Congress president Phool Chand Mullana earlier this week said that rapes could be a "conspiracy" against the Hooda government.
Bhukkal's remarks came even as the state Congress issued a show cause notice to the party's leader in Hisar Dharambir Goyat for his comment that "in 90% of the rape cases, the victims go with consent".
"I have no hesitation to say that 90% of the girls go with consent. They find criminal-minded people later (who rape them). The girls don't realise that there are 5-10 boys (waiting for them)," Goyat told media persons Thursday in Hisar town, 280 km from in Chandigarh.
Under fire from his own party leaders who were quick to dismiss his statement as Goyat's "individual opinion", Goyat said Friday, "I have not given any such comment during the press conference. After the press conference, someone asked me if it was true that some girls go with consent (for sex). I told them that I have also heard that many girls do so."
"My intention was not bad. The party (Congress) and the (Haryana) government have nothing to do with this. These were my individual comments. I have highest regard for women," Goyat told the media on Friday.