Rahul rape remark sparks row

LS, RS adjourned amid Unnao rape, North-East unrest din

Rahul rape remark sparks row

Rahul Gandhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13

Both Houses of Parliament witnessed protests over the reported “rape in India” remark by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi at a Jharkhand rally and the prevailing situation in the North-East following amendment to the Citizenship Act.

In the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asked Rahul to apologise to the nation and the House. He said the remark had come from a former president of the Congress and that leaders like him had no “moral right” to be in Parliament.

Union Minister Smriti Irani said Rahul had “insulted” the women and men of the country and claimed his remarks amounted to inviting people to rape. Amid the din, DMK’s Kanimozhi defended Gandhi, saying he was only referring to cases of sexual assault and violence against women in the country.

Gandhi was present in the Lok Sabha, but did not respond. Gandhi had at the Thursday rally reportedly said PM Narendra Modi had promised ‘Make in India’ but “wherever you see now, you find ‘rape in India’” in different parts of the country.

Outside Parliament, Gandhi refused to apologise and said Modi, as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, used a similar expression in the past to describe incidents of rape in the country.

The question hour was adjourned twice — once when the BJP objected to Rahul’s remark and later over sloganeering by the Congress asking about the outcome of the Unnao rape case. The victim was burnt alive last week. Friday was the last day of the winter session.

The Rajya Sabha too witnessed two adjournments — first till 12 noon and then till 1 pm. As the House met at noon after the first adjournment, TMC MP Derek O’Brien raised the issue of violence in the North-East, but Chairman Venkaiah Naidu proceeded with the listed questions.

Congress MPs came in support of the TMC leader and soon other Opposition parties started raising slogans against the amended citizenship Act, violence in the northeastern states, including Tripura. As ministers were replying to questions, some TMC members trooped into the well of the House, while some Congress MPs were seen standing in the aisle raising slogans against the government and PM Modi. TMC member Dola Sen even tore a piece of paper while standing in the well.

The Chairman adjourned the House till 1 pm after he tried to pacify the protesting members. Earlier, as soon as the House met for the day, members from the treasury benches protested over Gandhi’s reported remarks, which led to first adjournment. (With PTI inputs)

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