Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan has stoked another controversy when he told an alleged rape survivor, who sought his intervention for speedy police action, that she “gained a fair amount of publicity” while taking up the issue. The comments drew sharp reaction from Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal who said that politicians should think of their mothers and sisters before making insensitive statements. The incident took place on Thursday when the woman came to present her memorandum at an event addressed by Khan in Kanpur.
“The woman created a lot of ruckus. I don’t know the entire reason behind it, but I guess that it is a very serious matter),” Khan said. “Hum unka memorandum le kar jayenge, lekin unhe achi khasi shohrat mil gayi. Ye bhi malum hai ki unki jo shikayat hai badi badnami ki shikayat hai (I will take her memorandum but she has gained a fair amount of publicity. This is also true that her complaint is very disgraceful in nature,” he went on to say. “Aagar is badnami ko itni shohrat denge toh zamane ko sakal kaise dikhayegi (If you give publicity to such a disgraceful matter, how will you face the society,” he asked.
Reacting to the comments, the DCW chairperson also said that political leaders should support a victim’s struggle for justice. “Shocked by Azam Khan’s comments on a woman raped in a moving car whose husband was stabbed. How can he tell a rape victim that her struggle is publicity stunt which will bring her disgrace and she’ll not be able to show her face,” Maliwal tweeted. “Politicians should exercise caution on such sensitive issues and should think of their mothers and sisters before showing insensitivity,” she said.
Khan was recently in the news for his remarks on Paris terror attacks that the “superpowers” should think whether it was a “reaction” to the “killing of innocents” in Arab countries, drawing flak from BJP which demanded action against him. “Whatever the terrorists did in Paris was wrong. But, attack on Arab countries and killing of innocents there by US and Russia is also not justified,” he had said in Sambhal. “We need to look who killed whom first, after that who retaliated. This is a debatable issue. You strike bombs through drones to kill the inncocent…. History will decide who is a terrorist and who is wrong,” he had said.