While President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday promulgated an ordinance to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Union Minister Santosh Gangwar made an insensitive remark about rapes.
Gangwar, who holds the charge of Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment, said that in a ‘big’ nation like India, rapes can’t be stopped and such cases should not be given hype.
"Such incidents (rape cases) are unfortunate. However, sometimes you can't stop them. Government is vigilant everywhere, investigations are being conducted. In a nation as big as India, one or two incidents of rape should not be hyped,” Gangwar told ANI.
The statement from the Union minister came hours after President Kovind promulgated an ordinance to amend the POCSO Act, which allows courts to grant death penalty to those found guilty of raping children below 12 years of age.
Early on Saturday, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a number of measures to amend the POCSO Act.
The new amendments included death penalty to those convicted of raping a minor below 12 years of age and stringent punishment for perpetrators found guilty of raping girls below 16 years.
Gangwar was not the only ruling party leader who made controversial remarks about rapes.
Earlier, BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh's Bairia, Surendra Singh faced people’s backlash for his remarks in favour of Unnao Rape accused and his colleague Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
“I am speaking from a psychological point of view; no one can rape a mother of three children. It is not possible, this is a conspiracy against him (Kuldeep Singh Sengar),” news agency ANI quoted Singh as saying.
“Yes maybe her father was thrashed by some people but I refuse to believe rape charge,” he added.
Sengar, a BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh's Bangarmau constituency, had allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl in June 2017.
Earlier this month, he was arrested by CBI after the victim attempted suicide outside Yogi Adityanath’s house and her father died in police custody while fighting to get his daughter justice.