New Delhi/Lucknow/Mumbai, April 11: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comments on rape Friday attracted widespread outrage with political parties, tinsel town celebrities and the father of the Dec 16, 2012 rape victim condemning it roundly.
Women activists too criticised the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister for his comment made Thursday at an election rally in the state’s Moradabad city that rapists should not be sent to gallows as “young boys make such mistakes”.
Voicing outrage at the comment, the father of the gang-rape victim urged people not to elect such a leader as he does not “honour” women.
“Yadav failed to provide security to women in his governance. If he would have thought of providing security to women, he would have never given such kind of statement,” the victim’s father told IANS.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) senior leader Satish Chandra Mishra termed the statement “deplorable” and said such remarks would end up encouraging criminals and rapists.
“Such a statement is deplorable, more as it comes from a man who has been the chief minister thrice and a former defence minister,” Mishra told IANS in Lucknow.
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman termed the statement as “dangerous” and claimed the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh has been unable to protect women in the state and Mulayam Singh was making such statements in order to hide their shortcomings.
Reacting strongly, women rights activist Ranjana Kumari said that the Samajwadi Party is emerging as the party which is totally “against women and their upliftment”.
“The Samajwadi Party is emerging as the party which is totally against women, and their upliftment. It is shameful they are justifying rape. I don’t expect much from Mulayam Singh Yadav to say something motivating or good for women. What was his comment that ‘boys will be boys’… are they encouraging rape?” Kumari told IANS.
She was also referring to SP leader Abu Azmi who had said that women including rape victims who have sex outside marriage should be hanged.
Bollywood celebrities, Vidya Balan and Dia Mirza, too slammed Mulayam Singh’s remark.
National Award-winning actress Vidya has said that rape should never be pardoned.
“Capital punishment is a very contentious issue but it is the worst of crimes that should not be pardoned. I completely disagree with anyone who says that ‘boys will be boys, they will make mistakes’,” Vidya said in Mumbai.
“Now this is sure that I will not give my vote to him (Yadav),” she added.
Actress-producer Dia Mirza criticised the statement by the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister as “appalling” and “saddening”.
“When I hear comments like this, I don’t know how to react as a woman, how to react as a human being. I think it is appalling and saddening that there are such people in our society, who have such small, such irrevocable thoughts,” Dia said here.