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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot says death penalty for rape leading to murders, faces backlash

Opposition parties, including the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party, as well as the Delhi Commission for Women slammed Gehlot for his remarks.

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. (PTI)

A controversy has erupted over Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s statement that ever since death penalty was introduced for rape, there had been a rise in assault victims being murdered by accused to prevent them from testifying.

Opposition parties, including the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party, as well as the Delhi Commission for Women slammed Gehlot for his remarks.

Speaking in Delhi on Friday, on the sidelines of the Congress protest against price rise, Gehlot said: “Rape ho rahe hain bachchiyon ke saath mein. Aur bachchiyon ka jabse kar diya hai ki bhai usko phansi ki saza milegi, Nirbhaya ke baad mein… uske baad mein hatyayein bahut zyada hone lag gayeen bachchiyon ki. Rape karne wala dekhta hai ye to gavah ban jayegi kal mere khilaaf (Rapes are happening against girls. And since dealth penalty was introduced for accused, after Nirbhaya… a lot of girls are being murdered. The rapist fears that tomorrow she will become a witness against me).”

The CM added: “Toh woh rape bhi karte hain aur hatya bhi kar dete hain bachchiyon ki. Poore mulk mein, main dekh raha hoon jo report aa rahi hai, ye ek bahut khatarnak trend hai (So the accused rapes and also murders the girl. I can see this in reports coming from across the country, this is a very dangerous trend).”

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BJP MLA and Rajasthan Deputy Leader of the Opposition Rajendra Rathore said the statement reflected the failure of the Gehlot government in controlling incidents of rape in the state. Calling the remarks “unfortunate and shameful”, Rathore said: “The CM, who is also the chief of the Home Department, cannot shirk away from the failure of his government when it comes to increasing cases of rape in the state.”

He added that the previous BJP government in the state had brought in the provision of death penalty against those accused of raping minors, and Gehlot was opposing it due to his government’s failure. “The Chief Minister… is repeatedly doing the job of boosting the morale of rapists rather than breaking (the same). The question is that if the Home Minister himself rolls out the red carpet for criminals, then what will be the police investigation?” Rathore tweeted.

Rathore also dared Gehlot to bring a resolution against the death penalty law.

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Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal tweeted, “No amount of condemnation of this statement by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will be enough. Today, barbaric rapes of girls are happening in the country. The law was made after much pains and hunger strike. The morale of every victim breaks because of such statements by politicians. The job of leaders is to provide women’s security and not give useless statements.”

AAP MLA and the party’s Rajasthan in-charge Vinay Mishra said Gehlot’s statement would encourage rapists.

Following the backlash, Gehlot told reporters Sunday that he stood by his remarks and had only spoken the reality of what was happening in the country. He also said it was the habit of the the BJP to “make fake information viral in the media”.

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Asked whether he thought there was a need to make changes in the law, Gehlot said it was something the Government of India and state governments should thiink about. “Earlier there weren’t so many murders, maybe one-two. These days we hear that there is rape and the girl is also dead,” he said.

Rajasthan Police data show an increase of 17.03% in the registration of cases related to atrocities against women in 2021 as compared to 2020.

For two consecutive years, 2019 and 2020, Rajasthan saw the highest number of rape and attempt to rape cases, as per data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

First published on: 07-08-2022 at 06:52:44 pm
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