Even as the nation demands an end to violence against women in light of the Hathras alleged gangrape and murder case, politicians continue to prove why gender sensitisation is a distant dream.
A BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki claimed that the four upper-caste men accused of brutally gangraping and killing a 19-year-old Dalit woman in UP’s Hathras are “innocent” and it is the victim who was “awaara” (wayward).
Controversial BJP leader Ranjeet Bahadur Srivastava, who has over 44 criminal cases against him, made a shocking statement about the Hathras case.
Casting aspersions on the character of the victim, he claimed that the 19-year-old woman was “having an affair with the accused” and called him to the millet field on September 14 (the day of the crime).
In a video which went viral on social media, Srivastava can be heard saying, “The victim must have called the boy to the field because they were having an affair. This news is already out on social media and news channels. She must have gotten caught.”
— Netta D’Souza (@dnetta) October 6, 2020
However, the BJP leader did not stop there. He claimed that “such women” are found dead in a few specific spots.
“Such girls are found dead in only some places. They will be found dead in sugarcane, corn and millet fields or in bushes, gutters or forests. Why are they never found dead in paddy or wheat fields?” he can be heard. Srivastava implies that the Hathras victim’s death was an honour killing.
Then the BJP leader goes on to claim that no one ever witnesses such crimes when they occur or sees the victim being dragged away from the crime spot.
Later, Srivastava goes on to defend the four men accused of the crime, saying they should be released from prison till the CBI files a chargesheet in the case.
“I can say with guarantee these boys are innocent. If they are not released in time, they will keep facing mental harassment. Who will return their lost youth? Will the government give them compensation?” the Barabanki implores in the videos.
Taking note of Srivastava’s comments National Commission for Women chief Rekha Sharma said, “He is not fit to be called the leader of any party. He is showing his primitive and sick mindset and I am going to send a notice to him.”
Srivastava is infamous for making controversial and communal statements and has more than 44 criminal cases filed against him in Sitapur, Lucknow and several other districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The horrifying statements come days after BJP’s Ballia MP Surendra Singh said that “sanskar (values) should be instilled in girls to prevent incidents of rape”.