PM's silence unacceptable, says Rahul

PM's silence unacceptable, says Rahul

Seeking to corner the Modi government on the issue of crime against women, Congress President Rahul Gandhi's Thursday night's candlelight vigil at India Gate was aimed at re-creating the groundswell against the BJP similar to what the UPA-II faced in December 2012 after the infamous Nirbhaya gangrape.

Congress sources said the midnight vigil was Rahul's idea and at his behest, it was projected as an "apolitical" event that could get the support of NGOs and commoners alike who may have apprehensions on aligning with a political party.

"We are here against the crimes that are committed against women, against rapes, violence and murder and the government must act on this. This is a national issue, not a political one," Rahul said in brief remarks at the India Gate on Thursday night.

Hundreds of Congress workers, senior leaders, NGO activists and students hit the streets demanding justice for the victims of the heinous crimes.

Rahul's sister Priyanka along with her husband Robert Vadra and daughter Miraya also joined the spontaneous midnight candlelight vigil.

To keep the protests apolitical, Rahul also refrained from any reference to the Congress party or its headquarters at 24, Akbar Road in his Tweet on Thursday night inviting people to join him for a midnight vigil at India Gate.

On Friday, the Congress stepped up the pressure by organising candlelight vigils in state capitals across the country urging the government to act against the perpetrators of the gang-rapes.

"Mr Prime Minister, your silence is unacceptable. 1. What do YOU think about the growing violence against women & children? 2. Why are accused rapists and murderers protected by the state? India is waiting," Rahul said on Twitter on Friday.

At the vigil, Rahul said the women of the country were afraid to go out and the government must ensure their safety and help them live in peace.

Taking a dig at Modi government's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' initiative, he said it was the right slogan and the prime minister must start working on 'Beti Bachao'.

"When the government sleeps, the country's watchman sleeps... the Congress has the responsibility to wake him up," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said when asked about the rationale behind the midnight vigil.

The protests were reminiscent of a similar agitation that took place in the capital in December 2012 after the gang-rape of a trainee physiotherapist on a moving bus.

The capital witnessed huge protests, demanding justice for the young girl, who subsequently came to be known as Nirbhaya.

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