Shinde faux pas: names rape victims
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday committed a blunder in Rajya Sabha by displaying insensitivity as he named the three sisters who were raped and killed in Bhandara district in Maharashtra recently.
The ministry, through the Press Information Bureau (PIB) , also issued the unedited statement of the minister an hour after the Rajya Sabha chair ordered that the names be expunged. The ministry and the PIB withdrew the first release later and issued another. This time, the release contained the name of the grandfather of the victims.
As the Upper House took up the debate over the heinous crime—in which the police are yet to arrest culprits—Shinde made a statement and named the three sisters. The blunder was pointed out by Opposition Leader Arun Jaitley who said: “The victims should not have been named. Their names have come out and their identity disclosed. The home minister should withdraw his statement and a fresh one be laid in the House.”
After the Rajya Sabha expunged the names of the victims, media in-charge of Home Ministry K S Dhatwalia released the statement of Shinde through emails and the official PIB website containing the names of victims. Dhatwalia withdrew the release only after some media persons pointed out the error. A revised release was issued which had the name of the grandfather of the victim. When asked about it, Neelam Kapoor, Principal Director General, PIB, said her organisation has gone by the revised release approved by the home ministry.
Sources in the home ministry were tight-lipped about how the faux pas took place. The normal procedure is that the minister is given a briefing on the subject by the senior officials of the ministry before the House takes up the issue. Not only this, the statement is vetted by several senior officers. Despite all this, the blunder took place and was telecast live.
Several members were critical of the minister for the gaffe. BJP’s Smriti Irani questioned how the minister allowed the names to slip into the statement while CPM’s Sitaram Yechuri said it was unfortunate that despite the apex court ruling, such things were being repeated.