Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, 24 October, tweeted that he will go to fight for justice if the Punjab and Rajasthan government deny that the girl was raped, the way UP government did.
This comes in the backdrop of BJP leaders Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javadekar questioning the ‘silence’ of Congress over the Hoshiarpur rape case.
He tweeted, “Unlike in UP, the governments of Punjab and Rajasthan are NOT denying that the girl was raped, threatening her family and blocking the course of justice. If they do, I will go there to fight for justice. #Hathras”
BJP leaders and Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javadekar had questioned the silence of Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi over the incident of a six-year-old girl being allegedly raped, set on fire and murdered in Punjab's Hoshiarpur district on Thursday.
“In the Hathras rape case, it seemed as though they were all going out for a picnic. The brother and sister pair ran towards the village. But why not in Hoshiarpur? Why not if it’s Rajasthan? The selective cry of outrage that the Congress party wants to show when it is elsewhere but not in their respective governed states, is completely exposed,” Sitharaman said, making a reference to Rahul and Priyanka’s visit to UP’s Hathras, to meet the kin of the Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered.
The minister was addressing the media at the BJP headquarters when she said that no rape should be politicised.
“Not a word from the tweet-friendly leader Shri Rahul Gandhi. No tweets on this (Hoshiarpur rape incident), no outrage on this and no picnic on this. A woman heads the party. Does this kind of selective outrage suits the stature of their party?” she questioned.
Punjab CM Rejects BJP’s Attack
Reacting to the BJP leaders hitting out at Congress, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday rejected the attack on the Gandhis and his government and said that their remarks were without substance and basis.
He further said that contrary to claims made by the BJP leaders, there was no comparison between the two incidents, PTI reported.
Regarding the Hathras case, he said that the UP government and the state police “did not only fail to initiate stern action but in fact was seemingly trying to cover up the matter to benefit the upper-caste accused,” the PTI report mentioned.
He then said that the actions taken by the UP Police were in contrast to the prompt action taken by his state police who immediately arrested the accused and that were in the process of preparing to file challan in one week’s time.
"Had the BJP government in UP responded as effectively and speedily as we did in Punjab, neither the Congress and the Gandhis, nor scores of NGOs, lawyers, human rights activists would have been forced to take to the streets to fight for the victim," he added, PTI reported.
Regarding the BJP leaders’ “picnic tour” comment, he said it showed the “grossness” of the party’s “anti-Dalit and anti-woman mindset”.
Prakash Javadekar Slams Congress Leaders
Sitharaman isn’t the only BJP leader attacking Congress. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told ANI that the incident, that took place in Hoshiarpur’s Tanda, is “very shocking” and that Rahul should visit the area and take cognisance of the incidents happening in Punjab and Rajasthan.
“Neither Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi nor Priyanka Gandhi visited family of the victim in Tanda. They don't pay heed to the injustice done to women in the states ruled by their party, but visit Hathras and other places for photo op with victim's family,” he added.
In the Hoshiarpur incident, the accused – Gurpreet Singh and his grandfather Surjit Singh – had been arrested on charges of murder and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, PTI reported.
Her half-burnt body was found in their Jalalpur village, police had said. The victim's father is a migrant labourer who was earning his living in the same village.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)
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