New Delhi, Oct 24, 2020: The governments of Punjab and Rajasthan are not denying incidents of rapes unlike in Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday, hitting back at the BJP who accused the opposition leader and his family of raising issues to only settle political scores.
"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," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Nirmala Sitharaman had lashed out at Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over the alleged rape and murder of a 6-year-old Dalit girl in Punjab which is ruled by the Congress.
Describing the incident as "extremely shocking" and calling for "strict action", Mr Javadekar demanded that Mr Gandhi - who has been fiercely critical of the BJP over the alleged gang rape and murder of a young Dalit woman in UP’s Hathras last month - stop his "political tours" and visit Punjab to "take cognisance of crime against women".
Ms Sitharaman criticised the Congress for "selective outrage" and demanded to know why the "tweet-friendly" Rahul Gandhi had remained silent on this issue.
"The rape and murder of a six-year-old Dalit girl from Bihar, in Hoshiarpur’s Tanda village, is very shocking. Instead of political tours, Rahul Gandhi should visit Tanda and Rajasthan, and take cognisance of incidents of crime against women," Mr Javadekar was quoted by news agency ANI.
"Neither Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi nor Priyanka Gandhi visited the family of the victim in Tanda. They do not 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 the victim’s family," he added.
The BJP leaders’ comments come after the Congress targeted the party’s government in Uttar Pradesh over the alleged gang rape in Hathras and questioned Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s track record in protecting girls and women.
Mr Gandhi and Ms Gandhi Vadra met the family of the young woman - who died from injuries sustained in the attack - after two dramatic attempts earlier this month. They were stopped each time by UP Police - the first saw Mr Gandhi shoved to the ground by cops and the second saw Ms Gandhi Vadra manhandled by the police as she tried to protect a party worker during a lathi charge.
Both the BJP and UP Police have come under severe scrutiny for their conduct of the Hathras investigation, including from the Allahabad High Court. The police have suggested the woman may not have been raped because forensic samples collected over 10 days after the crime found no semen.