The BJP hit out at the Congress on Saturday over a case of alleged rape and killing of a six-year-old girl belonging to a migrant family from Bihar in Punjab, as it asked opposition party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra why had they not paid a visit to the family of the victim yet.
Union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar accused Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi of going on a “political tour” to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped and who died later, as he questioned the lack of a similar reaction from the two leaders to crimes against women in Punjab and Rajasthan, which are ruled by the Congress.
They go to these places for “photo-op”, Javadekar said, referring to the Congress leaders’ visit to Hathras in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh. “A six-year-old girl coming from a Dalit migrant family from Bihar was raped and murdered in Punjab’s Tanda. Former Union minister Vijay Sampla from our party met the family. Nobody from the Congress met them.”
“They (the Gandhis) cannot see atrocities against women in the states where it (Congress) is in power. Neither Rahul Gandhi nor Priyanka went there and nor was there any comment from its president, Sonia Gandhi,” Javadekar told reporters in New Delhi.
He also took a swipe at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, saying he is campaigning for the upcoming Bihar polls with those who are keeping “mum” on the atrocity against a daughter from the state.
Javadekar also claimed that the culprits in the rape-and-murder case in Tanda have not been arrested yet and demanded stringent action against them.
Union minister and senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman also lashed out at the Gandhis. “A 6-year-old child of a Dalit migrant labourer from Bihar is raped, killed and body half-burnt in Hoshiarpur (Punjab) and it doesn't shake the conscience of the brother and sister who rush to every other place which can help them politically,” she said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hit out at Sitharaman and Javadekar for their comments over the Hoshiarpur rape-murder case, dubbing their remarks as “political puffery” with no substance or basis to support their criticism. Singh rejected the BJP’s attack on his government as well as the Gandhis.
Amarinder Singh said contrary to what these leaders were claiming, there was no comparison between the Hoshiarpur and the Hathras case.
He pointed out that in the Hathras case, the Uttar Pradesh government and 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. This, he said, was in sharp contrast to the prompt action taken by the Punjab Police, who immediately arrested the accused and is now preparing to file the challan within a week.
The six-year-old girl was allegedly raped, killed and then set on fire, with her half-burnt body found at a home in Tanda’s Jalalpur village, police said on Thursday.
The accused, Gurpreet Singh and his grandfather Surjit Singh, have been arrested on the charges of murder, rape and under other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, they said.