The election season seems to be bringing out the worse in politicians.
A day after Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh justified rape as “mistakes” that “boys commit”, senior party leader Abu Azmi on Friday stirred a controversy saying that consensual sex between adults outside marriage was “polluting” Indian culture and neither Hindus nor Muslims will tolerate it. Azmi said rape victims as well as women who have extra-marital affairs should be hanged along with rapists.
Soon after, Maharashtra Women’s Commission chairman Suhsiben Shah, taking suo moto cognizance of Azmi’s remarks, announced an inquiry into it. “His statement is shameful. We will take action against him if we find anything objectionable in it. He said that both the man and the woman should be hanged. We believe that woman is the victim in any rape case,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, as expected, all political parties jumped at Mulayam’s rape comments to lambast him. If the National Commission for Women slapped a notice on him to explain his comments, the Congress, BJP and Left parties strongly condemned his anti-women remarks.
The Congress said Mulayam should immediately apologise and take back his words. “Comments by such a senior leader are not only objectionable, but also sad and shameful. Mulayam Singh’s remarks show how much respect he has for women in his heart, and how irresponsible he is towards women’s security,” said Congress leader Meem Afzal.
Afzal said the government in Uttar Pradesh is running under the guidance of Mulayam Singh and such comments could send a wrong message to young boys across the State.
The BJP, which is fighting the Samajwadi Party to regain control in Uttar Pradesh, termed his comments as “abhorrent and shocking”.
“The BJP strongly condemns the statement made by Yadav on women, on rape-related matter and his suggestion that if by chance he becomes part of the government in 2014, he would make sure that the rape law would be amended,” said party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.
The BJP leader then questioned the Congress for maintaining friendly ties with the Samajwadi Party which runs the UP government.
The saffron party also added that Mulayam’s comment was likely to send a wrong message to youth in Uttar Pradesh, which has a poor record on crimes against women.