New Delhi: Union Minister Arun Jaitley has triggered a row after he made a controversial remark on the December 16 gang rape case.
Jaitley was addressing a conference of state tourism ministers in the capital where he called the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedic student a 'small incident of rape'. "One small incident of rape, which was covered internationally, has cost us billions of dollars in global tourism," Jaitley said.
The young woman was assaulted on a moving bus by six men who gang-raped her and tortured her with an iron rod, on December 16, 2012. She came to be known as "Nirbhaya" and died of horrific injuries a fortnight later, leaving a nation angry and pressurizing the government for big changes in law.
The Congress and the National Commission for Women condemned Jaitley's statement. Shobha Oza, Congress's spokeswoman, termed Jaitley's comment "horrendous" and said that the minister should apologize to the women of the nation. The victim's parents said that they were deeply disappointed and hurt by Jaitley's statement. "When they wanted, they used Nirbhaya's name for political purposes but now that they are in power, they call it small," the victim’s mother said.
Jaitley later clarified his statement saying that it was not his intention. "I regret that the statement has been construed as insensitive. That was never my intention. I am outspoken on crimes against women, there is no question of trivialising," said the Minister.