Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said “rape is rape” and that it should not be politicised. He was referring to the incidents in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district and in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao.
“When a child is raped... we cannot compare these incidents in numbers for different governments,” he said at an interaction with London’s Indian community at the Central Hall Westminster, NDTV reported. “How can we accept this?”
The prime minister said the recent cases of sexual assault were a matter of shame for India. “Every time in our country... it is always the woman who is questioned,” Modi said. “The person who is committing these crimes is also someone’s son.”
He added: “That’s why I presented this issue from the Red Fort in a new way. I had said that if a daughter comes late, parents ask where had she gone and why. Whom did she meet? Everyone asks their daugthers, but you should also ask your sons where had they been...The rape of a [daughter] is a matter of worry, a shame for the country.”
Hundreds of supporters and protestors awaited Modi’s arrival in London, holding placards and shouting slogans at Downing Street and the British Parliament. The protestors held banners which said “Modi go back” and “We stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed”.
“The Indian government is doing nothing, and you feel sorry for the families because of the total injustice of it all,” Navinda Singh, an Indian-born lawyer told Reuters. “He has been in power for four years now and there has been no policy change to help protect women and children.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale sidestepped questions by a group of students in London, who demanded to know if they were denied access to Modi’s televised address because they planned to ask questions about the recent spate of rapes in India, The New Indian Express reported.
The prime minister met his British counterpart Theresa May to discuss a range of matters, including separatism, cross-border terrorism, visas and immigration. He also accompanied Prince Charles to an exhibition that celebrated India’s role in the history of science and technology.