No victim shaming, says Smriti Irani about Kathua and Unnao rape cases
The law is handling Kathua and Unnao cases, says the information and broadcasting minister.Updated: Apr 13, 2018 19:45 IST
The law is handling the two rape cases that have shocked India, but there “should be no victim shaming”, said information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani, as critics attacked the government for being silent about the crimes.
Irani was asked to comment on the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu’s Kathua district and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar being named in a rape case filed by a 17-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.
The girl in Kathua was tortured and killed allegedly because the accused wanted to scare away the nomadic Muslim Bakerwal community from the village. Thousands of members of a radical Hindu group with links to the ruling party have marched to demand the release of the six men accused in the repeated rape and killing of the girl inside a Hindu temple. Hundreds of Hindu lawyers have protested that the men, two of them police officers, are innocent.
The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh handed over the Unnao case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after coming under attack from its political rivals for allegedly shielding Sengar.
“Law agencies and government are taking necessary action. As a woman, I believe and request there should be no victim shaming,” Irani was quoted by ANI as saying in response to questions about the two rape cases.
The Union minister also took on Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his home constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. She slammed as a farce his midnight march seeking justice for the Unnao and Kathua rape victims.
“Rahul Gandhi earlier stood in support of Gayatri Prasad Prajapati. It’s just his compulsion to take a stand this time, but Amethi knows the truth. I have faith that justice will be provided,” Irani said.
Prajapati, a Samajwadi Party member, was an accused in a rape case of a woman from Chitrakoot. He was arrested and is now out on bail. Prajapati was fielded as a SP candidate for the Uttar Pradesh polls in 2017, when the Congress was in alliance with the party.
Irani is the second woman minister of the Narendra Modi government to comment on the two cases. Woman and child welfare minister Maneka Gandhi, in a video message Friday morning, said she was “deeply, deeply disturbed” and would move an amendment in the law to bring in the death penalty for child rapists.