Congress hits back, says BJP politicising Hoshiarpur incident in view of Bihar assembly polls
Earlier in the day, Sitharaman attacked Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for their “selective outrage” in cases of atrocities against women and questioned their “silence” over the alleged rape and killing of a six-year-old girl in Hoshiarpur in Punjab.Updated: Oct 24, 2020, 19:48 IST
The Congress on Saturday hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the Hoshiarpur incident, saying the ruling party was “politicising” the issue in the view of the assembly elections in Bihar.
Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev attacked finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her colleagues Prakash Javadekar and Harsh Vardhan for questioning the visit of the opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to Hathras.
“I hope that Nirmala Sitharaman ji will stop displaying her total insensitiveness to such a sensitive issue. Don’t politicise it,” she said, addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters in Delhi.
“The nation understands that you have suddenly woken up from your deep sleep because Bihar is in election mode. There is no second reason. Your party, your leaders and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi do not see beyond elections and that is why all of a sudden you have decided to make Hoshiarpur an issue,” Dev alleged.
Earlier in the day, Sitharaman attacked Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for their “selective outrage” in cases of atrocities against women and questioned their “silence” over the alleged rape and killing of a six-year-old girl in Hoshiarpur in Punjab.
“I am appalled, disgusted and disheartened to see that the finance minister, Javadekar and Harsh Vardhan having spent a lot of time and energy to raise the unfortunate death of a young girl in Hoshiarpur and question Congress leaders for visiting Hathras,” Dev said.
“I would like to tell Nirmala Sitharaman Ji, you have repeatedly proved your incompetence in your own ministry and now as an insensitive woman minister too. There is a reason why many opposition leaders felt it was their prime duty to go to Hathras,” she added.
In Hathras, the Congress leader claimed that police refused to file an FIR with the section of rape while in Punjab; the police not only immediately filed an FIR with POCSO and IPC sections within 36 hours but also arrested the accused.
She said Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and the director general of Police (DGP) are personally looking into the case.
“The chief minister has insisted on exemplary punishment. The Punjab Women’s Commission and the Scheduled Caste Commission have taken cognisance and asked for a report from the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Hoshiarpur.”
“Second reason, why people felt, it was necessary to stand by the family members of the Hathras rape victim, which may not be necessary in Punjab, is that the UP government left the Hathras victim over 10 days in a hospital and did not seek forensic report for 11 days, which is absolutely essential to be taken within 24 hours,” Dev said.
“You left out the forensic evidence because it suited you, because you wanted to take the case to say that there was no rape. That has been proved again and again, but, Punjab government and Punjab police have sent the Hoshiarpur case to fast track with the strictest sections of POCSO, which has capital punishment,” she added.
The Congress leader said the third reason why the leaders felt the need to go to Hathras is because the entire district administration of Hathras geared up, not to protect the victim and the family members, but to threaten them.
“That’s why the opposition leaders felt it was their duty to go to Hathras. In Punjab, the chairperson of the Punjab Women’s Commission has already met the family, assured their full support,” she added.
“Your own district magistrate in Hathras case threatened the family. Can anybody say that any person or any member of the Punjab administration had threatened this family? Another reason the Additional Director General of Uttar Pradesh claimed there was no rape in the Hathras case. Can anybody say that the Punjab Police or any officer in Punjab is denying rape? In fact, POCSO has been invoked. Uttar Pradesh had beaten up the media people. Punjab has not tried to hush up this case,” Dev said.
“Apart from that it is disgusting, where were you Nirmala Sitharaman Ji, when BJP leaders in Hathras were rallying with the accused and victim shaming the Hathras’ daughter, who was killed so brutally, where were you, why were you silent?”
“Most importantly and I want the nation to know this that Captain Amarinder Singh and the Punjab government ensured that the young girl, who unfortunately lost her life, was cremated with full respect, complete rituals in the presence of her family and not just her family, but, the entire village and the UP government cremated the Hathras victim in the dark of the night without a single member, even in her last moment, it deprived the victim of basic human rights.”
Dev claimed that the Allahabad court had “given a tight slap on the face” of the UP government, the chief minister and the administration in condemning the manner in which the Hathras case was dealt with.
“Can anybody say that in the Hoshiarpur case that the court feels a need to intervene? I don’t think so. That is the reason why Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi felt it was their duty to stand by the family which was being harassed by the chief minister and his government,” she alleged.