Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was today at the centre of a row over his "small rape incident" remark with attack being mounted on him from various quarters even as he said he had not referred to any particular case and that he had no intention of trivialising any crime.
"I regret that the statement has been construed or some word that I have used have been construed as insensitive. That was never my intention," he said in his clarification.
He was referring to his remarks made yesterday at the annual state tourism ministers' conference that "one small incident" of rape in Delhi, advertised world over, was enough to cost India millions of dollars in terms of global tourism.
Though he had not specified any incident, his remarks were seen to be a reference to the rape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old paramedic girl on December 16, 2012 in the capital over which the entire country was outraged and protests were held all over.
Jaitley said he has always been outspoken on issues relating to crimes, particularly those against women.
"I am very sensitive to these issues myself and there is no question of trivialising any crime or any particular incident. I had not referred to any particular incident," he said.
The minister said he had spoken "in general" on how crime can hurt tourism and the image of crime against women itself dissuades tourists from coming to India.
Criticising Jaitley's remarks, victim Nirbhaya's mother said, "He has disappointed me. During elections they had used Nirbhaya's name for political gains and after coming into power they call it a small incident."
Her father said, "We are deeply hurt by what he has said. No rape is small, each rape incident is shameful for a country and when public figures and politicians make such statements it looks so insensitive. They should remember that when they speak, not only our country but the whole world listens."
Congress leader Rashid Alvi termed as "most unfortunate" the remarks and said such statements reveal the thinking of the government.
"If any girl of the nation is raped, it is a blot on the nation. If a minister terms it as a small incident, that is most unfortunate. This shows the thinking of the government," he said.
Member of National Commission of Women (NCW) Nirmala Sawant said, "It is wrong from the part of a minister to make such remarks and compare how such crime can hurt country's economy. His remark is very unfortunate. I condemn it."
Congress' students wing NSU-I also strongly condemned the statement of Jaitley.
"We wish to ask him what in his case a small rape is and what is a big rape? It is sad and pathetic to have our representatives make such insensitive remarks. As a country we deserve more sensitive and rational leaders," NSU-I leader Amrish Ranjan Pandey said.
The word "small", however, was edited out of his speech transcript released by the Press Information Bureau.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar today said the matter should end after clarification by Jaitley.
"As far as today's statement is concerned, Jatiley has clarified. And you know his stature and eloquence. That he has already clarified, I think the matter ends there itself," he told reporters here.
Aun Jaitley is wrong, utterly wrong.
He should have said it was a big incident because Brahman girls do not face rape.
David Rukstables (Tokyo)
Yes, you are correct. Because she was a Brahman girl, the whole community jumped to agitate and others joined to hype it. In this country media, besides bureaucracy, police judiciary, parliament and assemblies are dominated by Brahmans. So they speeded up investigation, prosecution and trial leading to capital punishment in record time. The amendment to Juvenile Justice Act was effected to appease and placate the Brahmans only. Her parents, sadly but actually, become celebrities. The media seek everytime their bytes.
But the Brahmincal clans and their supporters are so shameless as they do not think of innumerable rapes cases of lesser mortals who do not get justice.
The government has, we hear, built a Bhawan to be named after this Brahman rape victim. Her parents have been provided flats, huge pecuniary compensation from official funds and public charity. They are now rich men.
When Abhijit Mukherjee, MP and a Bengali Brahman said that 'dented and painted women' had hit the streets to agitate following the Brahman's he was strongly criticized though he was fully correct in his observations. He was severely criticised in the media because a Brahman adversely attacking agitationists in support of a Brahman victim was unexpected.
Whenever Brahman is involved in anything this country think it has to open a new chapter there with them in focus as chapter.
No one can speak the truth about the anti male hyper reporting that has been rampantly increased in the media recently.
Anyone daring to speak his mind about the hyper reporting must be willing to have his character assasinated by the media 'terrorists'.
It was likely more than just tourism dollars. A friend of mine, (originally from Netherlands), was to travel to India around that time. She was quite excited, and was really looking forward to it. With all the news, she backed out.
Maybe they sent someone else in her place. However, there might have been some business loss too (in the long term probably more costly).
Despite that, Jaitley's statement was extremely stupid, and worse, grossly insensitive. One of the rare times when I actually thought the hyperventilating, breathless media people were doing good. Tourism or business dollars are not as important as safety of citizens. If the media expose can make our streets safer, not only will it be good for citizens, over time, it shall be good for tourism and business dollars too.
She is a Brahmin girl.
BC/SC/ST can ignore this rape case.