New Delhi: Slamming Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav for his rape remarks, Congress and BJP on Friday said that he should immediately apologise and take back his words.
"Comments by such a senior leader is not only objectionable, but also it is sad and shameful. Mulayam Singh`s remarks show that how much respect he has for women in his heart, and how irresponsible he is towards women`s security," Congress leader Meem Afzal said.
Afzal said that the government in Uttar Pradesh is running under the guidance of Mulayam Singh and such comments could send a wrong message among young boys across the state.
"Mulayam Singh should immediately take back his works and apologise," the Congress leader said.
Questioning the death sentence to three men who were convicted for two gang-rapes in Mumbai last week, Mulayam Singh had yesterday asked, "Should rape cases be punished with hanging?”
"Ladke, ladke hain. Galti ho jati hai (Boys are boys. Mistakes happen sometimes)," he told an election rally in Moradabad.
Reacting to his comments, BJP came down heavily on the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister with party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi saying that the remarks were "very shameful" and that he should apologise.
The SP leader "has done politics on a sensitive issue. The country will never accept such an attitude of leaders," Naqvi said.
On the SP supremo`s comments that there was a need to change the new anti-rape law so that those misusing it are punished, another BJP leader Smriti Irani, "Mulayam Singh is not going to form the government at the Centre at any cost.”
"If he wants to help any of the persons (rapists), he cannot now do such a thing as Congress has started preparation to sit in the opposition.”
"I want to say to Mulayam Singh that women like me would strongly oppose (any amendment in the anti-rape law) and we would never let this happen," Irani, the BJP candidate for Lok Sabha polls in Amethi, said.
The parents of the December 16 Delhi gang-rape victim also took strong exception to Mulayam Singh`s remarks and appealed to the people not to support his party in the Lok Sabha elections.
"We have heard his remarks on the issue of rape and the brazen manner in which he has spoken on the subject," the father of the victim of the brutal gang-rape said on phone.
"Such statements by leaders boost the morale of rapists and are also responsible for the rise in cases of rape in the country," he said.
"This statement has made it clear that Mulayam Singh is only concerned about power and security of women is of no importance to him. If after airing such views, SP goes on to win the elections it will be most unfortunate," the father said. The 23-year-old gang-rape victim died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.
The girl`s mother said, "Raping a girl cannot be called a mistake, it is a crime. A leader who gives such a statement doesn`t have any right to be in the power," she said.
The SP leader`s comments have drawn flak from political parties and social activists for questioning capital punishment to rapists.