Congress workers along with scores of children today staged a protest outside chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence here on the issue of women’s safety, but the move was slammed by BJP and AAP as they accused the party of using children to reap political gains.
The protest by Congress’s mahila morcha came against the backdrop of the rape of a two-and-a-half-year-old and five-year-old girl in the national capital last week.
“Kejriwal has failed to fulfil his promises of making Delhi safe for women. He promised to install CCTV cameras and depute guards on every bus, but nothing has been done till date,” Congress leader and former Delhi commission for women (DCW) chief Barkha Shukla told reporters in New Delhi.
“He (Kejriwal) used to claim that miracles will happen if he is made chief minister for a day. Now, months have passed and crime in the city is increasing alarmingly. The government has failed to live up to the expectations and fulfil its promises,” she charged. Another Congress leader, Sharmistha Mukherjee, said, “It is unfortunate to see how children are being victimised and brutally raped in the national capital. Why should toddlers and women suffer due to the government’s inefficiency? All Kejriwal is interested in is politicising, criticising and fighting.”
But with children being made a part of what it described as a “symbolic protest”, AAP accused Congress of stooping to new levels. “Congress as a party has been wiped out from the horizon of Delhi. They can stoop to any level. That is their level of politics. Now, they are using children to shield them. Is (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi watching all this?” said AAP leader Ashutosh.
BJP, too, criticised the presence of children in the Congress protest with party leader Sambit Patra saying that involving children was unacceptable and a violation of law. “Dragging innocent minds into the system of politics is absolutely uncalled for. Even by law you cannot make any children below the age of 14 years to work for you and this is a political reason. Even Kejriwal is politicising the issue, but what Congress did is unacceptable too,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma defended the protest, saying it was a “symbolic one”. “There are rising incidents of brutality against toddlers and children. But the protest was symbolic. What is more important to note is that the Government of India and the chief minister of Delhi are accountable and answerable for it,” he said.