Ramanagara/New Delhi: At a time when there's an outrage over the gang-rape of two minor girls in Delhi last night, politicians seem to show no mercy in issuing insensitive statements against women.
While senior BJP leader and former Karnataka deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa on Saturday stoked controversy when he asked a woman journalist what can the Opposition members do if "someone drags and rapes" her. BJP's Delhi in-charge Shyam Jaju also made a shocking statement by calling the recent case of rape of two children in Delhi a “small subject”.
“You are here, if someone takes you, rapes you then what can opposition do?” ANI quoted Eshwarappa asking this to a female journalist.
"You tell me what we need to do, we will do it; ...We have criticised it in the Legislature, when a six-year-old girl was raped I used all sorts of language that I had to, you people objected to my language...," he said at Ramanagara, near Bengaluru.
Eshwarappa who is also the Leader of Opposition in Karnataka assembly, made the bizarre comment after a reporter asked if the Opposition had failed in its duty by not making the Congress-led government accountable for such crimes in the state.
As his controversial remarks put him in a spot drawing criticism from the media, political parties and various organisations, Eshwarappa went into a damage control mode, saying his comments had been wrongly projected by the media.
Former Chief Minister and Opposition BJP leader in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said, "If the statement is actually like that, it is not in a good taste."
A group of agitated journalists even took up the issue with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seeking action.
Later, Eshwarappa clarified his statement and said he was "surprised" by the way media is depicting what he has said.
He said "The woman journalist is also like my daughter; people know that Eshwarappa and BJP have been fighting against such acts of violence against women, and we regard women as mother."
"I was only trying to point out that there is a situation in the state where any woman can be raped anywhere, but not that she (the woman journalist) has to be raped. I'm being quoted out of context and it has pained me."
Calling it "irresponsible" comments, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said "when has Eshwarappa spoken with seriousness, he always speaks like this."
Sharply reacting to Eshwarappa's comments, Bangalore Reporters' Guild in a statement called it an "insult" to women community at large. It said such comments were not expected from a senior politician like Eshwarappa.
Karnataka State Mahila Congress has organised a protest in the city tomorrow condemning Eshwarappa's comments.
Notably, Shyam Jaju also made a shocking statement by calling the recent case of rape of two children in Delhi a “small subject”.
"Be it any small subject in Delhi, Kejriwal is doing politics of blame-game. He is not thinking that the people of Delhi has given him the mandate to run government," Jaju said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal dubbed as "shameful" Jaju's remarks and said that the former is doing politics over every other "minor" issue in the capital.
In his response, Kejriwal tweeted, "Shyam Jaju says rape is a small incident? Shameful", while AAP said that the remarks were a manifestation of BJP's "anti-people stand". "On one hand, the BJP Govt takes no steps to improve women's security, on the other its leaders make light of brutal crimes against women," the party added.
The BJP and Congress accused Kejriwal of engaging in "blame game" and "politicing" the issue by raking up the demand of handing over police to AAP government.
Two children, including a two-and-half-year-old, were brutally raped in the capital, a week after the grisly sexual assult on a minor, triggering outrage and a political slugfest between rival parties, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accusing the police of being a complete failure in providing security to women.