Smriti Irani Misquotes Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Rape in India’ Remark
Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday, 13 December, in the Parliament, for his “rape in India” remark and said that it was the first time in the “history of India that a leader has given a clarion call to rape women in the country”.
Irani was alluding to a remark that Gandhi made while addressing a public rally in Jharkhand’s Godda district on 12 December.
Castigating the Opposition, Irani went on to say,
And, just minutes before the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine dine, Irani said that a comment like “rape in India will tantamount to an invitation about raping women in India, yet Rahul Gandhi cannot be so ignorant”.
However, Irani wasn’t the only leader to slam Gandhi. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal too attacked Gandhi.
Singh went on to say that the people who make such remarks have no moral right to be members of the House.
But, what is it that Irani got wrong in her statement about Gandhi? Let’s first review what Gandhi said to put this into perspective.
What Did Rahul Gandhi Say During the Rally?
While addressing an election rally in poll-bound Jharkhand, Gandhi spoke about the rising crime against women in India and took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He went on to say, “Narendra Modi has said ‘Make in India’ but wherever you look it’s ‘Rape in India’. In Uttar Pradesh Narendra Modi’s MLA raped a woman, then she met with an accident, but Narendra Modi didn’t utter a word.”
Taking a swipe at the government’s flagship ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, he said that while the government speaks of it, it has never said that we need to save our girls from BJP MLAs.
Gandhi was speaking in the backdrop of the Unnao and Hyderabad rape cases and attacked the government for its lack of action. Neither do we endorse Gandhi’s comments, nor do we support what he said but Smriti Irani’s remark is a clear misrepresentation of Gandhi’s statement.
Notably, this isn’t the first time a political leader has used the issue of rape for political “mockery”. Similar remarks were made by Modi as a PM candidate in the run-up to general elections in 2014 when he called Delhi the “rape capital” and demanded action and answers from then Congress government.
Rahul Gandhi Refuses to Apologise
Despite criticism and uproar in the Parliament over his remark, Gandhi refused to apologise and said that the government is trying to divert attention from what is happening in Northeast by attacking him.
In a tweet, which was accompanied by an old video of Modi, Gandhi said that PM Modi should apologise for his old remarks and “burning down” the Northeast, and “destroying” the Indian economy.
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