Rape is sometimes a result of relations between young boys and girls coming out in the open. Or maybe, sometimes, it is the result of watching too much television. Whatever it is, it is impossible to stop rape completely.
A raft of absurd, defensive comments from senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders is laying bare the Uttar Pradesh government’s trivialising attitude towards tackling the growing menace of rape and murder of young woman in the state.
Akhilesh-led SP govt faces flak over rape cases
In comments that drew all-round condemnation, Ram Gopal Yadav, SP’s national general secretary, said on Wednesday the media was deliberately and unfairly picking on the UP government although rape happened everywhere.
"In many places, when the relationship between girls and boys come out in open, it is termed as rape. In many places, girls and boys are ready (to marry) but honour killings take place,” he told reporters.
“The most saddening and serious thing is that such incidents are not stopping. These incidents happen in other places also but are not highlighted.”
Yadav attributed the rise in incidence of sexual assaults to the “vulgarity, obscenity and violence shown on television”.
Read: Centre talks tough after UP CM Akhilesh Yadav's 'rapes happen everywhere' comment
Earlier, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said his party's government in UP was "not insensitive" and was taking action against the culprits.
"What to do...we are sensitive. We are not insensitive...Strict action is being taken against culprits. You do your work and let us do our work," he said, when asked to comment on rising cases of rape in the state where his son, Akhilesh, is the chief minister.
In April, Mulayam had said in one of his election campaign speeches: "Ladke, ladke hain, galti ho jati hai (Boys are boys, mistakes happen). That doesn't mean that you award them capital punishment," referring to death penalties given in some rape cases.
Read: Badaun case: Only 5 of 12 suspects held
Attacking media for "deliberately" focusing on such incidents only in Uttar Pradesh, Ram Gopal Yadav said: "No leader visited those places but since, media said the two girls (in Badaun) were Dalits, everybody went there and even demanded registration of a case under the SC/ST Act when the girls belonged to backward classes.”
Last week, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had retorted when askedby journalists about the rapes: “You are ok? You are not in danger, right?” He also said a Google search would show rapes happen at other places too.
The latest comments from SP leaders have come in for sharp criticism. Cutting across party lines, political leaders criticised these remarks as unfortunate and insensitive.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “Akhilesh Yadav should understand that ever since his government came to power in UP, the state has gone from bad to worse. Everywhere, there are problems, whether it is electricity or law and order.”
He advised that Akhilesh Yadav should correct the message instead of correcting the messenger, and added that by criticising media he is encouraging the unwanted elements, who are committing crimes.
Read: Mulayam, Ram Gopal add to SP’s long list of shocking rape remarks
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan too criticised Akhilesh for his statement, saying what the young chief minister had said sadden him.
On Wednesday, minister of state for home Kiran Rijiju also criticised the Uttar Pradesh chief minister for accusing the media of highlighting such cases occurring in UP while ignoring similar cases happening in other states.
Expressing concern, he said: “The Akhilesh Yadav government must "act promptly" to improve law and order situation in the state but did not comment when asked if President’s rule could be considered for the state in view of deteriorating law and order there.