Congress Cautiously Skirts Goa MP's Rape Remark

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) A clearly uncomfortable Congress reacted cautiously to its Goa MP Shantaram Naik's controversial remarks on rape, with some leaders saying there was nothing to comment as the statements had been expunged but others admitting off the record that they were appalled by what Naik said.

"Since his remarks have been expunged by the chairman, there is nothing to comment," party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said.

Another party leader, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who is also a member of the Rajya Sabha, added: "I would not like to react to the remarks that have been expunged."

While other party leaders privately made their displeasure felt, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said there was no confusion on the party's stand on rape.

"There are no two kinds of rape. The law is clear on heinous crimes," Tiwari told Times Now channel.

Girija Vyas, who is now chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), added: "A public figure like Shantaram Naik should not have spoken the way he did. It was an absolutely irresponsible and derogatory remark."

Naik Tuesday attracted the ire of women members in the Rajya Sabha for saying that a rape case should be treated differently if the victim was known to be moving with strangers beyond the middle of the night.

"An alleged rape of a lady who moves with strangers for days together, even beyond middle of the night, is to be treated on a different footing," Naik had said. His remarks antagonised women members who sought the intervention of Deputy Speaker K. Rahman Khan. Naik should not be allowed to speak language derogatory to women, they demanded.



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