Indian expats slam minister’s remarks on gang rape case

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley

The Indian community on Saturday condemned Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s recent remark on the infamous Delhi gang rape case, describing his words as “unfortunate” and “irresponsible.”

Jaitley reportedly said, “One small incident of rape in Delhi advertised the world over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of global tourism” during an annual conference in the Indian capital on Thursday.

His reported remark sparked massive outrage back home in India and was equally condemned by Indians abroad.

Condemning the minister’s controversial remark, Akhtar-ul-Islam Siddiqui, president of the Middle East NRIs Association in Riyadh said, “The mask has now fallen now. They used the victim’s name to score points ahead of last year’s elections, but now, when they are in power, they call it a ‘small’ incident.”

“The same yardstick would be applicable to the honorable minister if such a calamity ever befell his family,” he said.

“It is a shocking case and exposes the double standards of the ruling BJP party,” he added.

He maintained that such an irresponsible statement is what would affect the national economy “since, instead of solving the problem, they want to hide the crime to duck for cover.”

Kaunain Shahidi Alig, a senior manager with Almarai and an active member of various Riyadh-based community organizations, echoed this view.

“It’s a shame that a senior minister in charge of finance and defense can make such an irresponsible statement on a sensitive issue that shook the world,” he told Arab News.

“Reflecting a very typical case of male chauvinism, this remark is a new low in patriarchal thinking that instrumentalizes women’s rights,” he added.

He further underlined that such remarks reflect the insensitivity of the ruling BJP on crimes against women and would only exacerbate and encourage criminal mindsets.

Mohammed Quaiser, president of Tanzeem Hum Hindustani, a voluntary organization of overseas Indians in the Kingdom, said that such remarks, which are constantly repeated at regular intervals by irresponsible politicians, only damage the very concept of women’s empowerment.

Quaiser demanded that men in public offices, including ministers and the members of parliament and state assemblies, be subjected to a code of conduct for sexist, demeaning language which, when violated, would result in punishment by an ethics committee.

“The explanation, or so-called expression of regret, he gave is as bad as the original highly objectionable remark,” he said. “If he was not referring to the Nirbhaya case, which case in Delhi was he speaking of? Which case of rape would he term a ‘small’ incident? All such heinous crimes are shameful and he should not only come out with an unconditional and outright apology, but should also resign.

 
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