Smriti Irani, Reacting To Rape Protests, Alleges "Politicisation"

Smriti Irani, Reacting To Rape Protests, Alleges

NEW DELHI: In her first comments on two rape cases that have jolted India, Union Minister Smriti Irani condemned "attempts to politicise" the incidents and said: "As a woman, I request victim-shaming to be stopped."

Smriti Irani is the second woman minister at the centre to comment amid protests over the rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir and a BJP lawmaker accused of raping a teen in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao. Maneka Gandhi, in a video message this morning, said she was "deeply, deeply disturbed" and would move an amendment in the law to bring in the death penalty for child rapists.

"The law and the administration will work according to the constitution. There are some people who want to politicise such incidents and that is expected too. But as a woman, I would request that victim shaming should not be done," said Smriti Irani, responding to a question on Congress president Rahul Gandhi's midnight march in protest.

She also took a dig at the Congress over Gayatri Prajapati, a rape and corruption accused former minister fielded by the Samajwadi Party in the Uttar Pradesh polls. The Congress had an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

"Those who asked for votes for Gayatri Prajapati are protesting today. People know the reality," the Information and Broadcasting Minister told reporters in Amethi, the parliamentary constituency of Rahul Gandhi.

Last night, Rahul Gandhi was near India Gate in the heart of Delhi to demand justice for the Kathua eight-year-old and the Unnao teen. The protests are seen to be an effort to target the ruling BJP at the centre and the two states.

"Wherever we see, woman and children are getting raped and murdered. We want the government to act. This is a national issue, not a political matter," said Rahul Gandhi, stopped a few metres short of India Gate.

Though the Kathua rape and murder took place in January, central politicians were largely silent until details in a police chargesheet revealed the sheer cruelty and horror that the child was subjected to before she was killed.