“Like every patriotic Indian, my heart hurts tonight with the growing incidents of violence against the girl child and women across our country,” tweeted Mr. Gandhi”
Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a candlelight vigil at midnight on Thursday to protest the growing crimes against women amidst outrage over the Unnao and Kathua gang-rape incidents.
“Like every patriotic Indian, my heart hurts tonight with the growing incidents of violence against the girl child and women across our country,” tweeted Mr. Gandhi inviting citizens to join the march.
Congress leaders marched in silence from the party’s headquarters at 24 Akbar Road to India Gate, about a kilometre away. Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband joined the protesters at midnight.
Ms. Priyanka Gandhi, who had come along with her daughter, sat in protest after the police stopped the march just short of India Gate.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi said, “We are standing in protest against one incident after another. So that women of India feel safe. This is a national issue. Not a political issue.”
Kathua and Unnao rape cases: DCW chief to go on indefinite hunger strike
Earlier, the party questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the Unnao rape case and accused BJP-ruled States of topping in crimes against women. The party questioned why the U.P. police had not arrested the Unnao rape accused, BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
“We are making a direct allegation that the BJP MLA will never be arrested. The probe has now been handed over to the CBI and going by their record, he will abscond by the time they act. And in a few months, they [CBI] will file a report that he had no role,” Congress leader Kapil Sibal at a press conference.
He said India is earning the dubious distinction of becoming “the rape capital of the world.” Referring to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report for 2016, Mr. Sibal said Madhya Pradesh had the highest number of rape cases followed by U.P. and Maharashtra.
Another former UPA Minister Ashwani Kumar said the Unnao case (in which the rape victim’s father allegedly died after being arrested by the U.P. police) has highlighted the need to have a strong anti-custodial law.
“The Unnao case is a defining moment in the life of our libertarian democracy. A day after the victim attempted self-immolation, her father died because of 18 injuries on his body inflicted during his judicial custody,” said Mr. Kumar.