Chandigarh: A woman minister in the Bhoopinder Singh Hooda government on Friday made a controversial claim that the rising number of rapes in the state was a "conspiracy" against the state of Haryana.
Social Welfare, Education, and Women and Child Welfare Minister Geeta Bhukkal said: "I believe that the way in which the statistics (on rapes) are being projected for Haryana, it is a conspiracy against the state. Such incidents (rapes) are taking place not only in Haryana but also in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and other states."
"It is a matter of concern for all. We don't want such incidents to happen. It is not a political issue or the responsibility of the government alone. Everyone should be concerned about it," Ms Bhukkal said.
Before the minister, Haryana Congress president Phool Chand Mullana earlier this week had said that rapes could be a "conspiracy" against the Hooda government.
Ms Bhukkal's remarks came even as the state unit of the Congress issued a showcause notice to the party's leader in Hisar, Dharambir Goyat, for his comment that "in 90 percent of the rape cases, the victims go with consent".
"I have no hesitation to say that 90 percent of the girls go with consent. They find criminal-minded people later (who rape them). The girls don't realise that there are 5-10 boys (waiting for them)," Mr Goyat told mediapersons on Thursday in Hisar town.
Under fire from party leaders who were quick to dismiss his statement as his "individual opinion", Mr Goyat said today: "I have not given any such comment during the press conference. After the press conference, someone asked me if it was true that some girls go with consent (for sex). I told them that I have also heard that many girls do so."
"My intention was not bad. The party (Congress) and the (Haryana) government have nothing to do with this. These were my individual comments. I have the highest regard for women," Mr Goyat said.