Congress party questioned about their silence over the barbaric incident in Punjab Credit: File image

On Saturday, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Nirmala Sitharaman took a jibe at Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra after their “silence” over the alleged rape and murder of a six-year-old Dalit girl in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district.

The barbaric incident of a six-year-old girl allegedly raped, killed, and then set on fire (with her half-burnt body found at home) happened in Tanda’s Jalalpur village, as stated by Police. The accused Gurpreet Singh and his grandfather Surjit Singh have been arrested under the charges of murder, rape, and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

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Calling the incident extremely shocking, Javedkar demanded strict action. He added that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been severely critical of the BJP government over the alleged gang rape and murder of a young Dalit woman in UP’s Hathras last month, should stop his political tours and visit Punjab and Rajasthan to take notice of crimes against women.

The Union Minister also stated none of the leaders of the Congress party paid any attention to the injustice done to women in the states ruled by their party. He went on to state that the opposition party rather points out atrocities against women in the states ruled by BJP. Nobody from the Gandhi family visited the family of the victim in Tanda but visited Hathras and other places for photo-op with the victim’s family he added.

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Javadekar attacked the Congress leaders after the party targeted BJP in Uttar Pradesh over the Hathras gang rape where they questioned Chief Minister Yogi’s track record in protecting girls and women. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadhra had also criticized the BJP over its trademark “Beti bachao” campaign, pointing out that the situation in UP was more of an “apradhi bachao”.

Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman also took a jibe at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav asking him whether he had asked Rahul Gandhi about the issue while holding a joint poll campaign with him in the state. Sitharaman added that the Punjab incident may not hurt the RJD because “while they were in power, this is how things were”. This was in reference to a news report of 2008 to talk about the allegations of eve-teasing and misbehavior with women against the RJD brothers. She also mentioned the “jungle raj” during Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party rule in Bihar during 1990-2005.

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In relation to the horrifying Hoshiarpur incident, Sitharaman hit out at Congress, saying why the tweet-friendly Rahul Gandhi has not tweeted yet and why has there been no outrage and no picnic either. The BJP party accused Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadhra of practising political tourism. She also added that crimes like rape should not be politicised and how certain political parties are selective in voicing disgust.

Sitharaman also added that the Congress party should stand up and answer, questioning them whether this kind of selective outrage suits the stature of their party.

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