Bhopal, June 5: Madhya Pradesh home minister and BJP leader Babulal Gaur today came to the aid of Akhilesh Yadav over rising crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh, saying rapists “never reveal their intentions”.
“Rapists never reveal their intentions and in such circumstances, what can chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav do?” said the gaffe-prone octogenarian, a former chief minister who traces his roots to neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who leads Madhya Pradesh’s BJP government, distanced himself from Gaur’s remarks. A spokesperson for the chief minister said the comments reflected Gaur’s “personal views”.
Gaur made the remarks when asked by journalists about law and order in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the Badaun case where two minor Dalit cousins were gang-raped and killed before their bodies were hung from a tree.
Gaur, a Yadav who was born and grew up in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh, described the Samajwadi bosses as bechare (helpless) over the party-led government’s failure to prevent the spiralling crimes against women.
“It (rape) is a social crime. Such men are not in their right mental state. It is difficult to prevent rapes as those who rape do not reveal their intentions. What can bechare (helpless) Akhilesh and Mulayam do in this?”
Mulayam himself had declared a few months ago, in the aftermath of assaults on women, that “boys will be boys”.
He again struck a defiant note today, saying Uttar Pradesh was a big state of 21 crore people while Delhi was facing “problems” with a population of two crore.
“You people can only see UP,” PTI quoted him as saying in Delhi when asked about the recent incidents.
In Bhopal, Gaur unwittingly highlighted a key reason why such crimes were not checked when he linked poor law enforcement to lack of official complaints, which are often not filed because the police turn the victims away.
“We take action only when it is reported. As so long as there is no complaint, there cannot be any probe. How can Mulayam and Akhilesh be blamed?” Gaur said.
Uttar Pradesh police are accused of turning away the Badaun victims’ families when they went to lodge a complaint. Two of the suspects in the case are constables.
Gaur did not stop at shining the light on what he saw as the sociological causes of such crimes. He offered a piece of advice, too: “We want all women to be like sports persons. They should learn judo and karate to counter such assaults.”
But Gaur appeared to have glossed over some truths as minister. Madhya Pradesh has one of the worst records among the states in tackling crimes against women, particularly against those of Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
In 2011, 3,406 rapes were reported in the state, the highest in the country that year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
In 2010, 3,135 cases of rape and 6,646 of molestation were lodged. According to government figures provided to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly recently, the number of minor girls reported missing was 29,828.
Gaur has a history of making politically incorrect statements and getting away with it. At the height of the outrage in the country over the December 2012 gang rape in Delhi, Gaur had sought to cite “provocative dresses” worn by women as a factor.
Speaking at a programme in Bhopal, Gaur had said: “‘Western values, films, television and provocative dresses are leading men to commit sex crimes.”
Earlier this year, he returned from a visit to Chennai and surmised that the Tamil Nadu capital witnessed fewer such crimes as “the women there are fully-clothed”.
At a programme held in Bhopal two years ago, Gaur kicked up a controversy on a matter related to sanitation and the banned practice of scavenging.
“What should be done by the Shudras is being done by a Brahmin. Earlier, this work was done by Shudras,’’ Gaur had said, referring to the founder of Sulabh International, Bindeshwar Pathak, an upper-caste Brahmin from Bihar.
The veteran later tried to make amends by saying Mahatma Gandhi himself had undertaken sanitation work and that no work should be considered beneath one’s dignity.
On another occasion, Gaur had asked why Sikhs, who he claimed were not even one per cent of country’s population, had a Prime Minister in Manmohan Singh.
“We Yadavs are in present in great numbers. We have done faithful service to the nation. Yet we have not got political power,” Gaur said in the presence of Chouhan and governor Ram Naresh Yadav.
Gaur was lauded for his concentration as a schoolboy. Born Babulal Yadav, he became Babulal Gaur after one of his teachers in Class IV in a Pratapgarh school praised his powers of concentration and renamed him. “You read everything with gaur (concentration), so you should be called ‘Gaur’.”