New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was Friday embroiled in controversy over his remark that the Dec 16 Delhi gangrape was a “small incident”, with the Congress describing his comments as “idiotic” and “horrendous”. He clarified that his remark had been “misconstrued”.
Hundreds of women Congress supporters Friday protested outside his residence here seeking an apology. The victim’s father also made a similar demand.
Attacking Jaitley, Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza said the Bharatiya Janata Party leader had made an irresponsible statement. “An idiotic and horrendous statement, he must apologise to women of nation,” Oza said.
She said Jaitley should apologise for his remarks and extend his apology to the entire female fraternity of the country.
Jaitley while addressing a conference of state tourism ministers Thursday had said: “…one small incident of rape in Delhi advertised world over is enough to cost us millions of dollars in terms of lower tourism.”
However, after facing flak from the opposition, Jaitley Friday said his speech was “misconstrued”.
“I regret that speech was misconstrued in certain sections. It was never my intention…I am sensitive to these issues myself, no question of trivialising any incident…spoken on how crime can hurt tourism,” he said.
Oza also said Jaitley was trying to distort the issue and blaming media for incorrectly interpreting him.
Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi said: “If any woman of the nation is raped, it is a disgrace to the nation.”
Congress supporters and activists tried to march toward Jaitley’s Ashoka Road residence here but were stopped by police. They raised anti-BJP slogans and burnt Jaitley’s effigy.
The father of Dec 16, 2012 gangrape victim told IANS that Jaitley should apologise for his remarks. “It is a wrong statement given by the minister. The remark has hurt sentiments of people, who came out to protest against the rape cases,” he said.
“A family has lost everything and Jaitley is concerned about the loss of tourism. Instead, he must work for making laws and order effective so that it can control such incident,” he said.