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Jaitley goofs up! says Dec 16 gang-rape a ‘small incident’

Jaitley goofs up! says Dec 16 gang-rape a ‘small incident’
Highlights

From street protests to strong statements, the Congress party has slammed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his comment that the December 16th gang-rape of a trainee physiotherapist was a ‘minor incident’ that cost the nation millions of dollars in tourist earnings.

“International coverage of the incident cost India billions in tourism”

  • I regret that the statement has been construed as insensitive, says Jaitley
  • Irresponsible statement, I'm deeply disappointed," says victim’s mother
  • An honest citizen lost her life, isn't that a loss to the nation, says victim's father
  • Congress protests at the BJP office against Finance and Defence Minister’s remark


New Delhi: From street protests to strong statements, the Congress party has slammed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his comment that the December 16th gang-rape of a trainee physiotherapist was a ‘minor incident’ that cost the nation millions of dollars in tourist earnings.
Congress Mahila Morcha members protesting against Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley over his remark in New Delhi on Friday
Former union law minister Salman Khurshid also came down heavily on the finance minister for using such expressions as loss of tourist earnings as a fall-out of that incident.” The loss in such cases is not to be measured in terms of earnings. The entire nation was shocked at the suffering of that young lady, and it had touched every heart in the country. The government of the day did everything to mitigate that suffering, and it is unfortunate that the finance minister is now using such expressions as ‘ minor incident’, for it,” said Khurshid.

The Congress and the National Commission for Women condemned Jaitley's statement. "It is unfortunate that a minister made such a comment. It shows his thinking and the government's thinking," said Congress leader Rashid Alvi.

The victim's parents said that they were deeply disappointed and hurt by Jaitley's statement. "He made an irresponsible statement, I'm deeply disappointed and hurt," said the victim's mother.

Her father said, "We are deeply hurt by what he has said. No rape is small, each rape incident is shameful for a country and when public figures and politicians make such statements it looks so insensitive. They should remember that when they speak, not only our country but the whole world listens." “He is seeing the tourism, an honest citizen lost her life, isn't that a loss to the nation?". Jaitley later clarified his statement saying that was not his intention. "I regret that the statement has been construed as insensitive. That was never my intention. I am outspoken on crimes against women, there is no question of trivialising," Jaitley said.

Though Jaitley had not specified any incident, his remarks were seen to be a reference to the rape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old paramedic girl on December 16, 2012 in the capital over which the entire country was outraged and protests were held all over. The minister said he had spoken "in general" on how crime can hurt tourism and the image of crime against women itself dissuades tourists from coming to India.

"I am very sensitive to these issues myself and there is no question of trivialising any crime or any particular incident. I had not referred to any particular incident," he said.

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