Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused Mayawati of shedding “crocodile tears” over the alleged gang rape of a Dalit woman in Rajasthan, prompting the Bahujan Samaj Party chief to chastise him for “dirty politics”.
Both Modi and Mayawati, who supports Rajasthan’s Congress government, had accused the state authorities of covering up the April 26 incident in Alwar for political reasons, and of intimidating the complainants.
Addressing an election meeting at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, Modi said: “Please do not shed crocodile tears. If you are serious, why don’t you withdraw support to the Congress government in Rajasthan?”
Soon afterwards, Mayawati hit back by demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation over the atrocities on Dalits under his watch.
“Modi is doing dirty politics. The BSP will take an appropriate political decision (on withdrawal of support to the Rajasthan government) in the absence of stringent and proper legal action in the case,” she said in a media release.
“But why is Prime Minister Modi not taking moral responsibility for past incidents such as the Una flogging, Rohith Vemula case or other atrocities on Dalits?”
Cow vigilantes had publicly flogged several young Dalits in Una, Gujarat, in July 2016. Rohith, a Dalit PhD scholar, committed suicide at Hyderabad University in January 2016 after the campus authorities punished him following an ABVP complaint and prods from the Union HRD ministry.
The Alwar complainant says she was travelling with her husband on a motorcycle on April 26 when the accused stopped the couple, took them to an isolated place, beat the husband and raped her in front of him.
Her husband says he approached the police on April 30 but the cops registered the FIR only on May 7, saying they were busy with the elections. Rajasthan voted on April 29 and May 6.
Mayawati had on Saturday accused the Rajasthan government of hushing the matter up by “terrorising” the complainant’s family till the completion of polling in the state. She had “appealed” to the Supreme Court “to take notice and ensure prompt justice”.
Modi said the Rajasthan government had suppressed the incident thinking “Hua toh hua (So what if it happened)” —- an allusion to a phrase Congress politician Sam Pitroda had used recently in reference to the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, for which Rahul Gandhi asked him to apologise.
The Prime Minister claimed the alleged gang rape was the “biggest example of how the mahamilawat (grand adulteration, Modi’s coinage for the Opposition alliance) works in Rajasthan”.
“If you (Mayawati) are so honest about the dignity of daughters, you should immediately write to the Rajasthan governor and withdraw support to the Congress government,” he said.
“To punish those who commit crimes against women, this chowkidaar (watchman) of yours had made provisions for capital punishment. If the Congress government’s intention was right, it would not have suppressed the Alwar incident.”