New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday refused to apologise over his “rape in India” remark during an election rally in Jharkhand and hit out at the government saying this was “merely an excuse” for them to divert attention from the main issue.
Speaking to the media in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi said, “All I said was that the Prime Minister keeps talking about ‘Make in India’, but when we open newspapers, all we read is about rapes across India. There are reports of rapes from every BJP-ruled state.”
Responding to demands for apology over his “rape in India” remark, the Congress leader said, “There is no question of apologising. This is merely an excuse for the government to divert attention from the main issue in front of us right now — the citizenship law — and nothing else.”
Slamming the government, Rahul Gandhi said that he has a clip of Prime Minister Modi “and I will put that on Twitter which can be viewed by people across the country.”
He also said that the main issue today is that Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have “burnt” the entire northeastern states.
“And now just to divert the attention of people from the issue of northeast the BJP is taking up this issue,” he said, adding that “I will repeat what I have said.”
“I have said what Narendra Modi has said about Make in India. We thought that Make in India can be read in newspapers, but now when we open the newspapers today then everywhere we rape in India. No such BJP ruling state is there where rapes are not happening with the women,” he said clarifying his statement.
Citing an example he said that in Unnao a woman was raped by a BJP MLA. Then the victim’s car met with an accident and the Prime Minister did not speak a single word and no action was taken.
Accusing Modi of allegedly believing in violence, he said, “Look what has happened. Modiji uses violence and spreads violence and today violence is there in entire country. Violence is being reported from north east, Kashmir and entire country.”
“Our main strength was our economy. (Former RBI Governor) Raghuram Rajan met me and said that in US and Europe no one is talking about India and when they discuss India they discuss about violence, division and atrocities are discussed instead of the economy. Think what was our reputation earlier which has now been destroyed. I said these things yesterday in my rally,” he said.
Firing salvos on Modi, Rahul Gandhi said, “Besides women issues, Modiji need to answer why he destroyed India’s economy and why he snatched jobs from the youths of the country?”
He also hit out at the Prime Minister in a tweet and demanded an apology for “burning” the northeastern states after the passage of controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 and for destroying India’s economy.
Rahul Gandhi, who is also an MP from Kerala’s Wayanad, said in a tweet, “Modi should apologise — for burning the North-East. For destroying India’s economy… and for this speech, a clip of which I’m attaching.”
Earlier in the day, BJP members demanded an apology from him for his rape remarks, alleging that he alluded to all women.
The Lok Sabha on Friday saw heated exchanges with the treasury benches angrily reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s “rape in India” remark. All BJP members condemned the statement and sought his apology.
The issue was raised by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal after the Lok Sabha Speaker paid tribute to the security personnel who sacrificed their lives in December 13, 2001 Parliament attack carried out by a group of terrorists in which 14 people, including five militants were killed, when the House assembled for the day.
Meghwal said Rahul Gandhi mocked Prime Minister Modi’s “make in India” slogan calling it “rape in India”. “Is he inviting people to rape in India? What does he mean? It is shameful. He should apologies to the people of the country.”
Later BJP member and MP from Hooghly in West Bengal, Locket Chatterjee, hit out at Rahul condemning his statement. “Does Rahul Gandhi want people to rape women in India? Is this his thinking?”
Union Minister Smriti Irani said it has happened for the first time in India that an MP has been inviting people to come and rape “Indian women”. “The son of Gandhi family is calling people to rape women.”
Gandhi made “Rape in India” statement during a public rally in Jharkhand’s Godda district on Thursday launching a scathing attack on Modi over crimes against women, saying the Prime Minister had launched ‘Make in India’ but nowadays it is ‘Rape in India’.
All the women BJP MPs, meanwhile, gathered at one side and shouted “Rahul Gandhi mafi maango (Rahul Gandhi apologise)” and “We want justice”.