Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over the murder of 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari in Uttarakhand saying the incident reflected how they treated women as “objects” and “second class citizens”. He also said that the truth of the BJP ideology is that they respect nothing but power.
The murder of Bhandari has triggered shock and outrage across the country.
Addressing a public gathering at Malappuram on Tuesday after day 20 of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi said, “A country that does not know how to respect its women can never achieve anything. A country that does not know how to empower its women can never ever achieve anything and a country that uses its women as second-class citizens is doomed.”
Attacking the BJP and the RSS, the Congress leader said, “The ideology of the BJP and the RSS views women as objects and second-class citizens.”
The Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad said that many times, you have heard when a woman gets molested, their leaders are saying she got molested because it was her fault. “The most disgusting, the most shameful example is here. I am talking about what happened in Uttarakhand,” he said, referring to Bhandari murder.
He said, “Imagine this, a leader of the BJP owns a hotel, his son is forcing a woman to become a prostitute, there are messages on her WhatsApp where she is saying- I refuse to become a prostitute. They are offering her Rs 10,000-15,000 to become a prostitute.”
“When she refused to become a prostitute, she was found dead in a canal. That’s the way the BJP treats women of India,” he said.
Slamming the BJP, he said, “And who took action? Who took action against the people who did this? The people themselves were forced to take action and what did the Chief Minister of the state do? He destroyed the evidence in the case by destroying the hotel so that nobody could ever find out what happened.”
“This is the truth of the BJP ideology. They respect nothing except power. They will do anything to get the power and then when they have power, they will do anything to stay in power. The result is that a young girl is dead in Uttarakhand. The only reason she is dead is that she refused to become a prostitute,” he said.
He also urged the crowd to stand in silence for one minute in memory of Bhandari to send a message to the BJP that we are not going to allow you to treat the women of India in this manner.