The Congress on Wednesday sought Union minister Kiren Rijiju's resignation for questioning the credentials of an army martyr's daughter and accused the ABVP of insulting the armed forces by threatening her with rape.
"Gurmehar Kaur is not only a daughter of Punjab but a proud daughter of India.Kiren Rijiju's job is to protect her as government should protect a martyr's daughter. "Instead he has questioned her credentials, which is very unfortunate. If Kiren Rijiju has any iota of shame left, he should immediately tender his resignation," Congress leader Manpreet Badal said.
Lamenting the Minister of State for Home's remarks that those supporting Gurmehar are dividing the country, the Congress leader said it is a result of the polluted mindset and ideology that is dividing the country.
"It is this government which is dividing the country. I demand the MoS's resignation," he said, adding that this is not an isolated incident.
He said similar incidents have taken place in campuses across the country and cited examples of Hyderabad Central University, Jadavpur University, JNU, FTII and Jamshedpur College.
Addressing a press conference at AICC headquarters, Badal said Punjab has a 5,000-year history of serving the nation and questioning a young girl is like questioning the sacrifice of martyrs.
Badal said the behaviour of the ABVP is an insult to the armed forces of India, to the martyrs of India and to the culture of India. He said Punjab has a centuries-old tradition of defending the culture of India and this is an "attack on a daughter of Punjab".
"In protecting the rights to free speech, the people of Punjab are very proud of this young girl. Congress party strongly condemns these threats to Gurmehar Kaur," he said.
"It is shameful that ABVP is threatening the daughter of a martyr with rape," he said.
Badal also questioned the silence of Union minister Harsimrat Badal who runs a social organisation in Punjab by the name of 'Nanhi Chhaan' for protection of the girl child.
"Not even a single statement on the issue has come from Harsimrat Badal, who is the lone Cabinet Minister from Punjab, from where the martyr's daughter hails," he said.
Manpreet Badal, a former Akali leader and finance minister of Punjab who switched to the Congress, is the estranged nephew of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and is the brother-in-law of Harsimrat Badal.