Chandigarh: The Haryana government has blamed the lack of social and mental progress for rape cases. "Haryana has progressed economically, but it has not developed mentally and intellectually leading to rising incidences of rape in the state," Haryana Congress MLA Sampat Singh said.
This comes days after Haryana Congress spokesperson Dharambir Goyat 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."
The state reported more over 15 rape cases in less than a month. Goyat's statement has left the State government red-faced. Reacting to the party spokesperson's comment, the Congress 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."
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. "I believe this is happening because our youth are being badly influenced by cinema and television. I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don't need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur," commented Singh.
The insensitive statement was made after an allegedly raped Dalit girl set herself on fire in Jind district in Haryana on Saturday. All four suspects have been arrested in the case. The 16-year-old was forcibly taken to the house of one of the suspects where the crime occurred, according to the police reports. In a state of shock, the girl went to her house and sprinkled kerosene on herself.
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".