New Delhi: Karnataka Home Minister K J George has stoked a controversy with remarks suggesting that two men raping a woman cannot be termed as gangrape, drawing severe flak from parties and activists while the National Commission for Women issued a notice to him seeking an explanation.
“How can you say gangrape? Gangrape means four-five people,” George said while replying to a query on Wednesday over the gang rape of a 22-year old BPO employee by the driver and cleaner of a van in the country’s IT hub.
As he came in the line of fire with the Opposition BJP terming his remarks as “insensitive”, George on Friday went into a damage control mode, saying “I am very sorry”.
“….a rape is a rape whether it is one person or a gang,” said George as he sought to explain away his controversial remarks.
“See public perception of the gangrape is a group of people openly raping a girl or a lady. That is a public perception, I said. It was two people involved. They were already been arrested when the question was asked (by the media), and what I feel it is condemnable heinous crime and we have taken action hands down,” he said.
Taking suo-motu cognizance, the National Commission for Women sent a notice to George.
“We have asked for an immediate explanation, failing which he will be summoned by the Commission,” NCW Chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam said.
“He doesn’t even know what rape means and that is why he has commented like this. He is another example of a person who comments on violence over women without pondering over it,” she said.
George came under attack from BJP state leader Suresh Kumar, who said, “The Home Minister can’t be so insensitive ….. by giving a new definition (to gang rape).” The Minister’s earlier remarks came after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah held a meeting with top police officials over the law and order in the city, an issue that came to the fore after the gang rape incident on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.
“We have already arrested the culprits. Actually nobody was condemning who have committed the crime. You have to condemn such a person,” he had said.
The Minister today said, “We have to condemn the accused who have committed the crime. When the police have already arrested the accused within 24 hours. You have to appreciate the police. That’s what I have told. Is there anything wrong with it?”
The BPO employee incident had come as a grim throwback to the 2012 gangrape of a paramedical student in Delhi, who later died, triggering a massive outrage across the nation.
In the Bengaluru incident, the woman from Madhya Pradesh, who was waiting to hail a bus to return to her PG home, had boarded a van which stopped by offering her a drop before she underwent the ordeal for more than three hours in the city.
She was threatened at knife point and allegedly gangraped by the driver and cleaner after taking her to a secluded spot but both were arrested swiftly on Tuesday after the victim gave the random digits of the vehicle’s numberplate.
In 2005, a 24-year-old employee of a city-based multi-national firm was raped and murdered by the cab driver who was later sentenced for life.