Outrage after Indian finance minister makes light of Delhi rape case
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley faced criticism on Friday for making light of the gang rape of a Delhi woman in 2012 and her subsequent death by saying it was a small incident that had cost India billions of dollars in tourism.
Jaitley, who is also defence minister and a key lieutenant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has denied he was trying to lessen the magnitude of the crime which shook the country and turned the spotlight on women’s safety.
“"I regret that some word that I used was construed as insensitive, that was never my intention," the 61-year-old clarified on Friday, reported NDTV.
"I have been always been very outspoken about issues relating to crime against women. I am very sensitive to these issues myself."
His earlier comments had sparked outrage including from the victim’s mother, who said politicians had a tendency to forget.
Jaitley, addressing a conference of state tourism ministers on Thursday, said improving law and order was necessary to help bring visitors to India.
“One small incident of rape in Delhi advertised world over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of global tourism,” he said.
Five men and a teenager lured the 23-year-old physiotherapist and a male friend into an unlicensed bus and repeatedly raped and tortured her.
She later died of her injuries at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, after being flown here for treatment.
Four men have been sentenced to death while a fifth suspect committed suicide. The teenager was remanded to a judicial reform centre.
Sources: NDTV, Reuters