SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday drew flak from political parties and women and social activists for questioning capital punishment to rapists and saying “boys commit mistakes” for which they should not be hanged.
Hours after his highly controversial comments, Congress slammed Yadav saying these were “unfortunate”. “It is unfortunate that any leader makes such a statement regarding a crime like rape. Such statements encourage persons involved in such crimes,” Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza said.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said the comment smacked of Yadav playing “minority politics” in the backdrop of recent Muzaffarnagar riots in which many women were allegedly raped.
“Mulayam Singh Yadav must have thought of playing minority politics in Nirbhaya case also,” he said, adding there was no law which provides for death sentence to juveniles and under the Juvenile Act, they are released in three years for these offences.
Addressing an election rally in Moradabad, Yadav had also said that after the Nirbhaya incident, people have started to get worried. Social activist Kiran Bedi said, “These statements call for total boycott of such a political leader. People should be asked to vote out such people completely.”
“That is exactly the reason when such people in power do not deliver and society as a whole feels insecure. This statement is against the society and it is spreading lawlessness,” she said.
Noted activist on women issues Ranjana Kumari demanded Yadav’s arrest in the light of these remarks. “Women of the country should not vote for his party whether it is in UP or somewhere else and he should be boycotted as a politician because he not only made these comments but also worked to stop women’s reservation bill,” she said.
She said the EC should take cognisance of it and an FIR must be lodged against him for making such a statement as “calling rape a small mistake is directly encouraging rape.”
Former Chairman of National Commission for Women Poornima Advani said, “Public apology is the least. The Election Commission should take up this matter. This is a negative and useless election stunt which is going to hit him hard. And, I am sure he will be voted out.”
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.