New Delhi: The Congress on Friday distanced itself from its Haryana spokesperson Dharambir Goyat who left the party red-faced by saying that 90 per cent of rapes are consensual. Goyat was issued a disciplinary notice by the Congress and asked to explain his comments. The Congress leader's rape remark, which came following a spate of rape cases in Haryana in the last one month, also came under severe criticism from across the political and social spectrum. The state has reported more than 15 rape cases in less than a month and Haryana government has been facing criticism for its failure to tackle the crime.
Reacting to the party spokesperson's comment, the Congress earlier in the day, too, dismissed it as a personal comment while the Opposition said that Sonia Gandhi's visit was merely a face-saving exercise. Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said, "It is not the statement of Haryana Congress or the Government. The Chief Minister has assured that the government will take strict action against the accused. It must be Goyat's personal opinion."
Goyat had blamed the women and said that 90 per cent of rapes happen due to consensual sex having gone wrong. In a shocking and bizarre statement, the Congress leader said, "I don't feel any hesitation in saying that 90 per cent of the girls want to have sex intentionally but they don't know that they would be gang raped further as they find some lusty and pervasive people in the way ahead."
Reacting to the incident, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "This is unfortunate that Congress party's stance remains unchanged, even after Sonia Gandhi's visit. The Haryana government should be treating this issue with more sensitivity."
CPI-M Politburo member Brinda Karat also reacted to the statement and said that it exposes the hypocrisy of the Congress. "First Sonia goes to visit the victims and pledges solidarity and then her ministers make such statement. Everytime they open their mouths, it is only to insult women."
Earlier this month, a Khap Panchyat member gave a bizzare 'solution' to the 'rapes' and suggested that the marriageable age for girls should be reduced to 16 years. When asked why rapes are occuring at this scale in Haryana, Sube Singh said that movies and television are to be blamed for rapes.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, too, backed Khap Panchayat leaders' bizarre solution for rape. Chautala also compared the rapes in Haryana to Mughal atrocities. He said that in the Mughal era, people used to marry their girls to save them from Mughal atrocities and currently a similar situation is arising in the state. "I completely support the Khap Panchayat's decision. It is a good way to protect women," Chautala said.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had lashed out at the Khap Panchayats saying only Judiciary will decide the law and not Khap Panchayats. Sonia sent out a sharp message to Khap panchayats saying they cannot supersede the judiciary. Sonia also said that strictest action will be taken against the culprits in the rape cases. She said those guilty of such heinous crimes, which take place not only in Haryana but elsewhere too, must be "severely punished".
The Haryana Government has drawn flak from all quarters, particularly the opposition, for its alleged failure to prevent incidents of crime against women. Asked about the Haryana government's "failure" in controlling such crimes that also involved many Dalit victims, Sonia said, "I have said what I had to say that such barbaric acts are condemnable".
Haryana's state of shame:
The Jind gangrape
A teenaged Dalit girl in Jind died after she set herself on fire on the night of October 7 after she was allegedly gangraped. The four accused have been arrested.
She was rushed to the civil hospital in Jind district, and was later referred to PGIMS at Rohtak in serious condition. The girl breathed her last on Saturday evening in the Rohtak hospital. Reports said that the 16-year-old girl was forcibly taken to the house of one of the suspects where the crime occurred.
Earlier on Saturday, the victim in her statement to the police said that one of her neighbours Pradeep allegedly dragged her into his house while the sister-in-law of the accused kept guard standing on the terrace of the house so that nobody could come inside. Pradeep and another youth Naveen raped the teenager.
The Bhiwani rape
A minor girl was reportedly raped in Bhiwani, Haryana around the beginning of this month. The Director General of Police cancelled the leaves of all police personnel for the month of October after the incident was reported.
Sources said that a special drive was also initiated to identify lumpen elements, unemployed youth, vagabonds and criminals in each village of the state and prepare reports and lists and take action against them.
The Sonepat gangrape
A class 11 student was gangraped in Gohana near Sonepat in Haryana by four men on September 27. Three accused were arrested and a case was registered. According to police, the girl was raped in a busy market area on Thursday afternoon but her family filed the complaint only on Friday.
The Jind gangrape
In the same week, a woman in Jind was raped by three men. The accused barged into the woman's house looking for her husband and when they did not find him, they brutally raped her. The victim was from a backward caste. Her daughter stood outside the house screaming in fright. The victim said that the men made a video of the whole gruesome act and threatened to make it public if she reported the matter to the police.
The Hisar gangrape
A 16-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped by eight upper caste men on September 9 in the Dabra area of Hisar. The case came to light only 10 days later, on September 19, after the distraught minor broke down in front of her parents and narrated the incident.
To make matters worse, when the girl's father approached the police for help, they reportedly refused to file an FIR. The helpless father committed suicide the next day. The police arrested one of the accused after the residents of the area refused to cremate the body of the victim's father until arrests were made.
The accused reportedly made an MMS clip of the incident and circulated it. The girl's uncle told reporters, "The girl was scared and did not report the incident to her family. The accused had threatened to kill her if she approached the police. But when the MMS clip was circulated in the entire village and the people came to know, her father decided to report the matter to the police. However, I don't know what happened. He took the extreme step the next day."