Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday delivered a strong statement on the Kathua and Unnao rape cases that have sent a wave of outrage across the nation.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Dr Ambedkar National Memorial at New Delhi, the Prime Minister said:
"As a society, as a country, we are ashamed by this. Any such incident happening in any part of the country shakes out consciousness. I want to assure the country that no culprit will be spared. Justice will be completely delivered to the daughters who have suffered atrocities.
This intrinsic evil in our society will have to be tackled by all of us together.
You will remember that after becoming PM in 2014, my first speech was from the Red Fort. And in my first speech I had said:
We ask girls when they come home late, 'Where were you? Why were you late?' I said, that I want to ask those parents who ask their daughters, 'ask your sons where they were. Why they were late. These crimes that are committed against girls and women... it is some or the other mother's son.'
Hence, as a society, it's our duty to come together and fight the evils of our society. And that the culprits get the most stringent punishment is everyone's responsibility and the government of India will to any lengths to fulfill that responsibility."
The Prime Minister's remarks come almost exactly a day after the CBI took over the Unnao rape case and subsequently arrested and questioned rape accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
On Thursday night, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, as well as his sister Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra and his brother-in-law Robert Vadra, had held a midnight candle-light march to India Gate along with several other Congress party leaders.
On Friday, the Congress president tweeted directly at the Prime Minister, saying that the latter's "silence is unacceptable".
Rahul Gandhi is yet to speak about the Congress' connection to the Hindu Ekta Manch's protests backing the Kathua rape accused. A leader of the fringe group had revealed that two former J&K lawmakers belonging to the Congress party had participated in a clandestine temple meeting where they backed the demand for a CBI probe into the case. Finally, just a short while after Rahul Gandhi's tweet aimed at PM Modi, Republic TV accessed a shocking video of the J&K Congress chief where he shielded the rape-accused and poured doubt over the investigation.
The J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP, which is in alliance with the BJP in the state, has called for the national party to sack two state ministers who had also backed the protests and the demand for a CBI inquiry. JKNC chief Omar Abdullah, on the other hand, called heaped pressure on Mehbooba Mufti, saying that the onus to sack state ministers fell on the chief minister of the state and not the Prime Minister of India.