Sheila Dikshit rape remark in Assembly draws flak

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said that only one gang-rape in the city in December last year had prompted her government to launch the 181 helpline.

New Delhi: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit`s remark in the Assembly on Friday said that only one gang-rape in the city in December last year had prompted her government to launch the 181 helpline drew sharp criticism with BJP saying it reflected her "insensitivity" towards women.

In course of a statement in the Assembly on performance of her government in the last five years, Dikshit said her administration lost no time in setting up the helpline for women in distress following "one rape case" in the city.

In the context, the Chief Minister also made reference of Madhya Pradesh, which is ruled by BJP, saying the state has earned the tag of "rape capital" of the country.

"One rape case had taken place in Delhi and it is now acknowledged that Madhya Pradesh is the rape capital of the country. We had one rape case and a helpline called 181 was established immediately within a week so that all women who feel insecure can contact us and police for help. It is only one of its kind in India," Dikshit said.

As per official figures, 810 cases of rape were reported in Delhi from December 16 last year, when the brutal sexual assault of a paramedical student shook the country, till June this year. A total of 706 cases of rape were reported in Delhi in 2012.

Strongly reacting to Dikshit`s remark, Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel challenged her to an open debate on the issue of law and order in Delhi and claimed that there has been a 600 per cent rise in crime against women in the city in the last seven months.

"Delhi is the rape capital of the country. The Chief Minister herself said that her daughter is not safe in Delhi. Every two hours one case of molestation or rape is reported in Delhi."

"Then how can the Chief Minister say that only one rape had taken place," Goel said.

He also came down heavily on the Chief Minister for referring to Madhaya Pradesh while talking about rape cases, saying there should not be any comparison on such a sensitive issue.

"I am challenging her for an open debate on the issue. Her comment that only one rape had prompted her government to set up the helpline is very insensitive," he said.

Leader of Opposition VK Malhotra termed Dikshit`s comments as "pack of lies" and lambasted her for making "such irresponsible" remarks.

"Her comments are most objectionable. They are a pack of lies. How can she say only one rape had taken place in Delhi when so many such cases have been reported every day. Has she forgotten the rape of a five year old in April," Malhotra said.

The BJP legislators were not present in the House when Dikshit made the comment as they were suspended for creating ruckus while protesting Speaker Yoganand Shastri`s decision to allow Dikshit to make a suo motu statement on last day of the fourth Assembly.

On the hosting of the Commonwealth Games, Dikshit said her government was not involved in any irregularities in any of the CWG projects and point-by-point replies to all the allegations raised by the Shunglu committee and the CAG had been given.

"There have not been any irregularities even of Re 1 by Delhi government. We have not done anything wrong. We have replied to each and every allegation by Shunglu Committee and CAG," Dikshit said.

Coming down heavily on BJP, Dikshit accused it of trying to mislead the citizens but said people of Delhi know the "party very well".

"Our government ensured rapid expansion of infrastructure to keep pace with the fast-increasing population and requirements of the city. We have never tried to run away from our responsibilities," she said.

Dikshit further said that results of the upcoming Assembly elections were not going to be different and said, "We would remain on the treasury benches whereas the BJP would occupy the opposition benches".

Talking about the economy, Dikshit said that although the the country was facing difficult times, Delhi`s growth rate has been above 10 per cent in the last few years.

"Delhi`s per capita income is more than Rs 2 lakh, the highest in the country. We have allocated 65 percent of the plan outlay for the social sector. The expansion of Delhi Metro under third phase will connect every nook and corner of the city," she said.

"There has been communal and interstate harmony in Delhi. There has not been any communal clash," she said.

In her address, she complimented performances of all her cabinet colleagues listing their individual achievements in carrying forward the development agenda.

Dikshit said a total of 143 bills were cleared by the Assembly in the last five years.

She also described the health infrastructure in the city as being the best in the country.

Later, Malhotra slammed Dikshit`s "long speech" as an election campaign.

"She misused the floor of the House for electoral gain. This is totally unacceptable," he said.

Earlier, Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia faced sharp attack by BJP MLAs for failing to release old-age pension to over three lakh beneficiaries since August last year.

Walia said her department was carrying out verification of beneficiaries and until the exercise was completed, release of the pension would not be possible.


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