The Congress Party on Tuesday justified UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's remark made after meeting the family of a Dalit teenaged girl, who immolated herself after being allegedly gang-raped in Jind in Haryana.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said that Gandhi has assured the family of the victim that stringent action would be taken against the culprits.
"Soniaji went there and met them (the family of the victim). She has said rightly that the accused should be severely punished. We hope that the law will take its course and they will be severely punished. Rape is a severe offence and the offenders must be punished," he said.
Sonia Gandhi's remark that rapes take place not only in Haryana, but in other states as well, has not gone down well with the leaders of various political outfits.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Ram Asrey Kushwaha commenting on the issue said that the callous attitude of the Congress Party was responsible for its downfall.
"The reason for the miserable state of the Congress party is due to the fact that Soniaji is taking such serious incidents very lightly. They have no presence in Uttar Pradesh, and now they will have no presence in Haryana also. The way Soniaji has given statement about the rape, and their Chief Minister has not gone to the victim even once till now," said Kushwaha.
"The Congress party will have to bear the brunt for adopting such careless attitude in the next elections that will take place in the province," he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earlier dubbed Sonia Gandhi's visit to meet the family of a Dalit teenaged girl to be a political stunt, and said that Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda should have been shown the exit door following the rise in atrocities against women in the state.
BJP leader Balbir Punj said it is extremely unfortunate that Sonia Gandhi is trying to politicise the unfortunate incidents of dishonouring and raping of women in Haryana.
Sonia Gandhi earlier today said perpetrators of barbaric crimes like rape must be severely punished.
Gandhi today visited the family of a Dalit teenaged girl, who immolated herself after being allegedly gang-raped in Haryana's Jind District on Saturday, and assured them of all help.
The Congress President after meeting the rape victim's family said those guilty of such heinous crimes, which take place not only in Haryana but elsewhere too, must be severely punished.
Gandhi also rejected the suggestion of a Haryana Khap Panchayat that marriageable age for girls should be reduced to 16 as this will help in curbing the increasing instances of rapes in the state.
"The country has a democratic system and an independent judiciary and the law is in the hands of judiciary and nobody else," she said.
The UPA chairperson arrived in Jind at about 10 a.m. and went straight to meet the victim's family. She was accompanied by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Union Minister Kumari Selja and Haryana Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala.
The Congress Government in Haryana has drawn flak from all quarters for its alleged failure to prevent incidents of crime against Dalits and women.
The 16-year-old girl had sprinkled kerosene and immolated herself after allegedly being gang-raped by two youths in Narwana sub-division of the district.
The victim had breathed her last at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Rohtak, where she was rushed from Narwana Civil hospital with 90 percent burn injuries.
Police has arrested the victim's neighbour Pradeep, the main accused who had dragged the victim to his house, and his accomplice Naveen, who was also charged with raping the girl.
Two more people have also been arrested in the case.
According to reports, as many as 12 cases of rape and gang rape have occurred in Haryana since September. (ANI)