Amid massive outrage over the alleged gang rape of a 20-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, who died in Delhi on Tuesday, a BJP MLA from UP's Ballia has said: "It's the duty of all mothers and fathers to imbibe good values in their daughters and bring them up in cultured environments."
"I am a teacher along with being an MLA. Such incidents (like rape) can be stopped only with sanskar (culture), not with shasan (good governance) or talwar (referring to sword or might)," the BJP's Surendra Singh said on Saturday.
"It's my dharma, government's dharma but family's dharma too... While government is committed to protect, the family should be committed too to imbibe good values in their children. Sanskar and sarkaar can make India beautiful, there is no other alternative," he is heard saying in a video. He was replying to a question by a reporter, who asked him: "Why do you think rape cases continue even as people say this is Ram Rajya?"
The BJP MLA has been known for making controversial comments in the past. Last year, he had said that Nathuram Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi "was not a terrorist" and he "committed a mistake". Earlier this year, he commented on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying she is a "cruel-hearted woman".
His comments come as the opposition leaders continue to attack the Yogi Adityanath government over the handling of the case. On Saturday, ex-Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met the victim's family in Hathras, two days after they were stopped by the UP police from marching to the village.
"No force can silence us," Mr Gandhi told the media after the meeting, vowing to keep up their pressure on the government till the family gets justice. "Wherever something wrong happens, we will be there to ensure justice is served. No one can stop us," Priyanka Gandhi said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation , hours after two top officials - DGP HC Awasthy and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi - visited the family.
In the midst of massive criticism against the state government, this was the first visit by high-ranking officials of the government and police since the alleged gang rape that took place on September 14.