Jaitley slammed for rape remark

Apologises after calling Delhi gang-rape a 'small incident'

Jaitley slammed for rape remark

Expressing regret for his comment that “one small incident of rape” had pulled down the tourism industry, after it incensed activists and the 2012 Delhi rape victim’s parents, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said he had no intention of “trivialising any crime”.

He said he did not refer to “any particular incident” of crime against women.

Jaitley had made the comment at a seminar on tourism on Thursday, which was construed as an insult to the Delhi victim, who was brutally raped and fatally assaulted in a moving bus on December 16, 2012. The ghastly episode had sparked off a mass movement against sexual violence, attracted global attention and forced the previous UPA government to make criminal laws more stringent.

“I regret that the statement has been construed or some word that I used has been construed as insensitive. That was never my intention,” Jaitley stated in his clarification.
The minister, who is an eminent lawyer and rarely slips in oratory skills, emphasised: “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”.

The word “small”, interestingly, is missing from Jaitley’s speech transcript put on the official website of finance ministry. The text of his speech merely says “one incident” of rape” in Delhi had hurt the tourism sector.

“A law and order problem, one incident of rape in Delhi advertised world over is enough to cost us millions of dollars in terms of global tourism. So we have a national responsibility especially when God has blessed us with everything, which a tourist wants to see. We just have to catalyse that process and make sure that we take the right steps,” Jaitley’s written speech read.

Jaitley’s remark had gone viral on social media, inviting angry responses.

The Delhi rape victim’s father reacted that the family was hurt by the insensitive remark.

“No rape is small, each rape incident is shameful for a country and when public figures and politicians make such statements it sounds so insensitive. They should remember that when they speak, not only our country but the whole world listens,” he said.

The victim’s mother said the BJP used the issue to derive political mileage in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections and now termed it a small incident after coming to power.

Political parties also chided the minister. Congress women’s wing demanded an apology from Jaitley for insulting the entire female fraternity and marched to stage a dharna outside his official address, 9 Ashoka Road, here.

“Arun Jaitley should accept that he has a wrong mindset and this is what he thought. He should apologise to the entire female fraternity of the country for this insult,” Mahila Congress Committee president Shobha Oza told reporters.

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