An embarrassed Congress on Wednesday distanced itself from the controversial remarks made the party’s Rajya Sabha MP on the alleged rape of a Russian woman in Goa.
The issue also angered the Russian embassy officials, who slammed the Goa state government for the tardy investigation into the case.
A 25 year-old Russian woman was allegedly raped on the night of December 1, by a local of South Goa. The Crime Branch of the state police is currently investigating the case.
The lone Congress MP from Goa in the Rajya Sabha, Shantaram Naik kicked up a storm in the House on Tuesday by saying that the rape case was different from others. He blamed the electronic media for unnecessarily highlighting the case.
Following strong protests by women MPs, Naik’s remarks were removed from the House proceedings.
The Congress party has disowned the controversial remarks. “There is a definition of rape, which is contained in the IPC (Indian Penal Code). The definition is both exhaustive and illustrative. There is no question of anybody having a contrary definition,” said party spokesperson, Manish Tewari.
Russian embassy slams Goa govt
Concerned over the victimisation of its citizens in Goa, Russian embassy officials said they were “astonished” at the way the case was being probed.
In a letter to Goa CM Digamber Kamat, the Consulate of Russian Federation in Mumbai said, “We would like to express astonishment over the process of investigation in the case of rape of a Russian citizen by Indian John Fernandes.”
In an apparent reference to Naik’s remarks, the letter stated :”We would inform our citizens not to remain outside ... after 10 pm, if you suppose that would assist in their security.”
The National Commission for Women (NCW) termed the MP’s remarks as “derogatory and irresponsible.”
“Rape is rape and cannot be classified on a different footing. A victim is always a victim. I don’t know why he uttered those words,” said NCW chief, Girija Vyas.