Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday said that ever since death penalty was introduced for rapists, murder cases after rape have increased across the country.

“Since the death penalty was introduced for those accused after Nirbhaya [2012 Delhi gangrape case]...a lot of girls are being murdered,” Gehlot had said, according to The Indian Express. “I can see this in reports coming from across the country, this is a very dangerous trend.”

His remarks were criticised by several members of the Opposition and the Delhi Commission for Women.

Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, said that such statements by politicians break the morale of those who have been raped, the Hindustan Times reported.

“No matter how much this comment is criticised, it would be less,” Maliwal said. “Today girls are being brutally raped in the country. The law came into existence with great difficulty after hunger strikes…The job of leaders is to ensure women’s safety, and not to make unnecessary statements.”

Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Rajasthan, Rajendra Rathore, said Gehlot’s remarks are unfortunate and reflect the failure of his government in controlling crimes against women.

“The CM [Gehlot], who is also the chief of the Home Department, cannot shirk away from the failure of his government when it comes to increasing cases of rape in the state,” Rathore wrote in a tweet. “...The CM is repeatedly doing the job of boosting the morale of rapists rather than breaking it.”

Aam Aadmi Party MLA and the party’s Rajasthan in-charge Vinay Mishra also said that the remarks will encourage rapists, The Indian Express reported.