Lucknow, April 14 :
In a dingy bylane in the old city area, a family is trying to come to terms with life after their six-year-old daughter was kidnapped, raped and killed by a neighbour and three minors. The recent comment by Mulayam Singh Yadav that rapists are “young men who commit mistakes” has left the family flabbergasted.
“Is this a small mistake?” the man snarled, while declaring his “opposition for life” for the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
Supriya Rathore, a resident of the Chowk area, said it was not only an “insensitive remark but also an insulting one for women across the country”.
“Hundreds of girls are being butchered by men and he (Mulayam Singh) finds them small mistakes which need not be punished! What does he mean by mistake?” a fuming Rathore asked IANS.
The family of the Aashiana rape victim, a 13-year-old who was abducted, tortured and brutally gang-raped in 2005, where justice is yet to be done even after about a decade, also finds Mulayam Singh’s statement completely “obnoxious”.
“Such words do no justice to any cause, rather add to our suffering,” said a family member of the girl who was sexually assaulted by a minor from a “powerful” family a decade ago in Lucknow.
Anju Singh, the Trinamool Congress candidate from Rae Bareli, called the statement “one that reflects moral bankruptcy”.
Reshu Bhatia, director of women’s rights group Stree movement, too is at her wits’ end trying to decipher the explanation offered by Mulayam Singh that he had meant that innocent people being framed by girls should be spared.
“No girl would falsely charge anyone; Yadav has said something very shameful.”
Asha Mishra, state president of the Indian Women’s Federation, said Mulayam Singh should understand that his comments will embolden criminals.
Aarti Mishra, a teacher at the Sanskrit Pathshala in the Cantonment area, said courts and the Election Commission must take note of the unsavoury remarks and haul up Yadav.
“I too have a daughter at home. As it is, we are worried once she steps out of the house, and now you have a man whose party is at the helm in the state dishing out such statements… disgusting,” the 54-year-old Mishra told IANS.
Bollywood actress Ayesha Takia, who is the daughter-in-law of Maharashtra Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi who made similar sexist remarks, slammed her father-in-law publicly and spoke about how disgraced she felt.
Mulayam Singh’s son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav reacted meekly to questions on his father’s statement.
“I don’t know in what context he said so. In election season no one knows what media shows,” was all that he could tell reporters.
Demanding an unconditional apology from Mulayam Singh, Sanya Rizvi, a business woman in her 30s from Indiranagar, also sought his disqualification from electoral politics.
“People with such a mindset do not even have the right to contest polls and seek our votes,” Rizvi told IANS.
Madonna Xavier, a 28-year-old woman who tutors children in Hariharnagar, is also worried over how parents are petrified to let go their children after sunset.
“There is already so much crime happening and to top it, he mouths such things. He has lost it or what?” she asks.
Lucknow has seen a spurt in crimes against minors and women in the last two years. The scenario is not just scary but also depressing, she said.