After facing condemnation for her silence on the Hathras incident, India’s Women and Child Development Smriti Irani has finally broken her silence, but only to criticise the Congress for playing politics. Speaking to reporters in Varanasi, Irani said that the BJP’s win in 2019 Lok Sabha polls showed that people were aware of the Congress’ agenda.
She told reporters, “People are aware of the Congress’s agenda… That’s why they ensured a historic win for the BJP in 2019 elections.”
Irani, who used to frequently stage protests over crimes against women during the UPA government, has faced widespread condemnation for her silence over growing incidents of rapes in Uttar Pradesh. Aside from the state being ruled by her party, Irani was elected to Lok Sabha last year from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The union minister, according to NDTV, said, “I cannot stop a leader in a democratic nation but people understand that their visit to Hathras is for their politics and not for justice to the victim.”
Angered by her comments, a group of Congress workers blocked her car as they chanted ‘Go Back Smriti Irani’ slogans.
Irani also said that she had spoken to Yogi Adityanath, who had constituted an SIT to probe the matter. She appeared satisfied with the steps taken by the government. The minister, however, did not comment on why her party’s government had laid siege to the entire village and confiscated the mobile phones of the victim’s family members.
The 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped in Hathras on 14 September. She succumbed to her injuries late last month. The local police had allegedly forcibly taken the dead body to perform her last rites without the consent of the family.
The police have blocked the entry of media persons or politicians from opposition parties into the village. The victim’s brother on Friday had managed to leave the village to speak to the media to inform how the District Magistrate had kicked his uncle.