Attacking the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old girl in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar on Monday said that the Sangh and its political arm envisaged women only as “commodities”.

Mr. Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, also lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “conspicuous silence” over the crime in Uttar Pradesh.

“The heinous Hathras incident has been protested at all levels of society…The younger generation is now looking at the oppression of women from a different perspective. In this changing scenario, it is worth noting that the mentality of the RSS-BJP throughout has been to propagate this notion of women as objects of consumption,” the VBA leader said in Pune after a protest against the Hathras crime.

Stating that it was heartening to see youth coming out in large numbers to protest crimes against women, Mr. Ambedkar said that youngsters today were more conscious of the basic rights of a woman.

“Youngsters recognise that a woman, too, has inalienable rights and that she should be able to live the way she wants to. The new generation has no toleration against such brutal oppression of women. The fact that they are hitting the streets in such great numbers across the country is evidence of this fact,” he said.

A lawyer himself, the VBA chief said that the U.P. police and the Special Investigation Team had no right to ‘threaten’ the kin of the victim.

Censuring the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in U.P., Mr. Ambedkar said, “Who is giving the officials these instructions to intimidate the victim’s family? It can only be the political leadership of U.P.. Hence, the victim’s family has demanded that a judge be appointed by the Supreme Court to inquire into the matter and that the probe be monitored by the apex court. We fully support this demand,” he said.

Mr. Ambedkar came down heavily on the Prime Minister’s silence on this matter, dubbing him as ‘Mauni Baba’.

“I only appeal to the youth not to fall prey to whatever propaganda being purveyed by the ruling government,” he said.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Raosaheb Danve took jibes at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s discomfiture during his first attempt to meet the kin of the victim, alleging that crowds, and not the U.P. police, had jostled the Congress MP causing him to fall down.

“It is not true that the police pushed Mr. Gandhi… He fell down owing to the jostling mob…It only proves that he does not have enough experience of mingling with crowds,” Mr. Danve said.



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