The Congress on Saturday hit back at the BJP for comparing the Congress’s purported silence on the case of rape-murder in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi stating that “unlike” the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, Congress governments in either Rajasthan or Punjab are not “denying” the case, or “blocking the course of justice”.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hit out at the comparison drawn by Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javadekar between the crimes in UP’s Hathras and Hoshiarpur, and called it “political puffery, with no substance or basis to support their criticism”.
Rahul tweeted, “Unlike in UP, the governments of Punjab and Rajasthan are NOT denying that the girl was raped, threatening her family and blocking the course of justice. If they do, I will go there to fight for justice.”
Sitharaman and Javadekar had earlier in the day questioned Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s “silence” on the Hoshiarpur case and asked about the “selective cry of outrage that the Congress wants to show when it is elsewhere but not in states governed by it”.
In a statement, Amarinder said the Hathras and Hoshiarpur cases have no comparison. “In Hathras case, the UP government and police did not only fail to initiate stern action but in fact was seemingly trying to cover up the matter to benefit the upper-caste accused. This was in sharp contrast to the prompt action taken by Punjab Police, who immediately arrested the accused and were now preparing to file the challan within a week.”
He stated: “The ‘selective politics and selective outrage’ charge, which Nirmala Sitharaman made against Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, was, in fact, completely apt for the BJP. No BJP leader had uttered a word in protest against the acts of omission and commission of the UP government and police in the Hathras case, when the entire nation was in angry uproar.”
Congress women’s wing chief Sushmita Dev said in New Delhi: “There is a reason why many opposition leaders felt that they should visit Hathras because the UP Police refused to file an FIR with the section of rape in Hathras. And in Punjab, the state government not only immediately filed an FIR with POCSO and IPC sections within 36 hours, the accused were arrested and the Chief Minister and the DGP are personally looking into the case.”
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar said: “Rahul went to (Hathras to) extend solidarity along with Priyanka. It was the UP government that tried to stop them. Here (in Punjab), we are not stopping anyone to go and meet the victim’s family. We are on the victim’s side… We are not unleashing atrocities on them, unlike the UP government.”
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