Shinde’s gaffe in RS, names Bhandara rape victims, then orders probe
Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday committed yet another gaffe when he named the victims of the Bhandara rape incident in Rajya Sabha which had to be expunged at the intervention of the Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley.
Pointing out the gaffe, Jaitley, a senior lawyer, said as per law the victims of rape, that too minors, are not identified and named and their identity should be kept a secret as per Supreme Court guidelines.
“I am sure it is an oversight…Three minor children are being named in the statement of the home minister. What should not have been done, has been done.”
“Victims named should not have been named. Their names have come out and their identity disclosed. The home minister should withdraw his statement and a fresh one be laid in the House,” said Jaitley.
Earlier, Shinde named the three sisters of Bhandara in Maharashtra, who were allegedly raped and murdered recently, in a written statement which was read out by him.
At first, Shinde could not not get the import of what Jaitley was pointing out.
PJ Kurien, deputy chairperson who was in the Chair, told him that Jaitley has raised a very, very important point. The names of the victim should not have been disclosed. These names of victims are hereby expunged,” he said.
Kurien directed the media also not to name the victims as listed out in the Home Minister’s statement, saying if it is done it will be taken as a matter of privilege.
Shinde thanked Jaitley for pointing out the “inadvertent” error and sought to withdraw the names.
Caught in an embarrassing gaffe, the home minister on Friday ordered a probe into how the names of minor rape victims figured in the statement he made on the Bhandara rape and murder incident.
“We withdrew the names and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha expunged it. I have told the (Home) secretary to conduct a probe into the matter,” he told reporters outside Parliament House reacting to questions on his slip in the Upper House.
He said the names of the victims were “removed” as they were minor girls.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury termed as “very unfortunate and very shocking” the home minister naming the rape victims who were raped and murdered in Bhandara.
He alleged that the “gravity” of sexual crime was not “reflected” in the statement and the Government was not paying deserving respect to victims of such crimes.
The Rajya Sabha Secretariat later put out a notice providing the orders of the Chair expunging the remarks made in the home minister’s statement.
This is not the first time that Shinde has landed himself in trouble over his remarks made in Parliament as well as outside.
His taunt against actor-turned politician Jaya Bachchan (SP)during a debate on Assam violence in August last that it was not not a subject matter of film had evoked strong condemnation from Opposition members.
After an uproar in the House, Shinde was forced to eat his own words and apologise to Bachchan saying she is his sister.
The home minister had earlier courted controversy by addressing Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed as “Shri” and faced flak from various quarters.
Shinde also came under sharp attack from BJP over his recent “Hindu terror” remarks made at the Congress Chintan Shivir at Jaipur and later forced to make a clarification just ahead of the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament.
The home minister stoked controversy during the protests over the Delhi gangrape incident when he appeared to compare them with Maoists.
Shinde also remarked recently that the controversy over the coal block allotment will be “forgotten” in the days to come, just like the Bofors and petrol pump distribution scams, saying public memory was short.