NEW DELHI: The Congress on Thursday distanced itself from senior leader Digvijaya Singh's remarks that "people donning saffron robes were committing rapes", saying a criminal should be penalised on the basis of the crime committed and should not be judged by the clothes worn or the religion followed.
When asked about Singh's remarks, Congress secretary Pranav Jha said, "We heard about the comment. I don't know in what context it was made. But, the party thinks that criminals do not get affected by the robes they don. Criminals are independent of what they wear, what their beliefs are."
"A criminal is a criminal and should be seen by the crime committed and not by the clothes worn or religion one belongs to," he told reporters.
"Criminals are criminals and they should be seen from that perspective only and it is unnecessary to look anything more into it," Jha added.
On Tuesday, Singh kicked up a row by saying that people donning "saffron robes" are committing rapes which are taking place in "temples", and thus defaming the Sanatan Dharma (ancient religion).
Some anonymous posters have also come up in Bhopal against him, demanding a ban on his entry to Hindu religious places.
He also said that such acts are "unforgivable".
Though Singh did not take names, his comments come close on the heels of a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing allegations of rape levelled against BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand by a law student in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress leader, who had kicked up controversies in the past as well with his statements, also said the Sanatan dharma (ancient religion) is being defamed by such acts.