After his remarks on rape unleashed outrage, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday attempted damage control, saying that no one respected women more than his party even as the National Commission for Women (NCW) sent a notice to him seeking an explanation.
Yadav, however, stuck to his stand that the new anti-rape law was “wrong” and should be amended so that innocents are not framed, as he faced more flak with RJD supremo Lalu Prasad saying he seemed to have lost his “mental balance”. The Congress and BJP demanded an apology and that he withdraw the remarks. In the midst of the ongoing Lok Sabha campaign, the former UP chief minister had on Thursday questioned the death penalty for rape, saying “mistakes” by boys happen sometimes, sparking outrage among rival parties and women’s groups.
“Should rape cases be punished with hanging?” he asked, questioning the death sentence to three youths who were convicted for two gangrapes in Mumbai last week.
“Today there is nobody in the country who respects women more than the Samajwadi Party,” the SP supremo said, seeking to clarify his controversial remarks. At the same time, he said, “We will not let the wrong (anti-rape) law continue...”
Unfazed by a wave of denunciations, Yadav maintained that there was a need to change the new anti-rape law so that those misusing it are punished. At his poll rallies in Sambhal and Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, he said there was a debate going on the world over on the issue of capital punishment and several countries have banned it.