Jaitley’s ‘small rape’ remark draws wide criticism, victim’s parents flay him
NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was on Friday
at the centre of a row over his “small rape incident” remark with attack being
mounted on him from various quarters even as he said he had not referred to any
particular case and that he had no intention of trivialising any crime.
“I regret that the statement has been construed or
some words that I have used have been construed as insensitive. That was never
my intention,” he said in his clarification.
He was referring to his remarks made on Thursday at
the annual state tourism ministers’ conference that “one small incident” of
rape in Delhi, advertised world over, was enough to cost India millions of
dollars in terms of global tourism.
Though he had not specified any incident, his remarks
were seen to be a reference to the rape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old
paramedic girl on December 16, 2012 in the capital over which the entire
country was outraged and protests were held all over.
Jaitley said he has always been outspoken on issues
relating to crimes, particularly those against women. “I am very sensitive to
these issues myself and there is no question of trivialising any crime or any
particular incident. I had not referred to any particular incident,” he said.
The minister said he had spoken “in general” on how
crime can hurt tourism and the image of crime against women itself dissuades
tourists from coming to India.
Criticising Jaitley’s remarks, victim Nirbhaya’s
mother said, “He has disappointed me. During elections they had used Nirbhaya’s
name for political gains and after coming into power they call it a small
Her father said, “We are deeply hurt by what he has
said. No rape is small, each rape incident is shameful for a country and when
public figures and politicians make such statements it looks so insensitive.
They should remember that when they speak, not only our country but the whole
Congress leader Rashid Alvi termed as “most
unfortunate” the remarks and said such statements reveals the thinking of the
government. “If any girl of the nation is raped, it is a blot on the nation. If
a minister terms it as a small incident, that is most unfortunate. This shows
the thinking of the government,” he said.
Member of National Commission of Women (NCW) Nirmala
Sawant said, “It is wrong from the part of a minister to make such remarks and
compare how such crime can hurt country’s economy. His remarks are very
unfortunate. I condemn it.” Congress’ students wing NSUI also strongly
condemned the statement of Jaitley.
“We wish to ask him what in his case a small rape is
and what is a big rape? It is sad and pathetic to have our representatives make
such insensitive remarks. As a country we deserve more sensitive and rational
leaders,” NSUI leader Amrish Ranjan Pandey said.