New Delhi: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav stirred yet another controversy today while defending his son Akhilesh Yadav's government amid a growing resentment over the increase in crime against women in Uttar Pradesh.
"There are 21 crore people in Uttar Pradesh, yet the number of such cases are the least here," he told reporters who had questioned him about the outrage over the alleged rape and murder of a 32-year-old in Lucknow and the increase in number of rape cases in the state.
The Samajwadi Party government faces intense criticism over the gang-rape and murder of two teen girls who were found hanging from a tree in Badaun district in May this year.
As the criticism grew, the chief minister and his family made a series of callous comments. Last month, the Samajwadi Party chief snapped at reporters when they brought up law and order in the state, saying, "You do your work, I will do mine". ('You do Your Work, I Will do Mine': Mulayam Singh Yadav on Rape Cases in Uttar Pradesh)
In the same month, the young chief minister had suggested a "Google search" to understand that women are raped elsewhere in the country too. (Google Search Will Show Badaun-Type Incidents in Other Places Too: Akhilesh)
A few months ago Mulayam Singh had said, "Should rape cases be punished with hanging? They are boys, they make mistakes." (Mulayam's shocker on rape: Boys make mistakes, why hang them?)
Slamming Mr Yadav for his remarks, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said today that "for any state government, even one such case should be shameful. "
His party colleague Shobha Oza added that such "insensitive statements" encourage criminals.
National Commission for Women member Shamina Shafiq had a word of advice for Mr Yadav. "I think leaders of Uttar Pradesh don't have to do much. They just have to read newspapers and they will know that every day at least two to three cases are reported in the state," she said.