Two days after his controversial statement to a city tabloid which quoted him as saying that “rape survivors too should be hanged,” the Samajwadi Party’s Maharashtra chief Abu Azmi claimed that he was misquoted.
“My statement was twisted. As a result of this, many of my supporters felt hurt. I never said rape survivors should be punished. I only said rapists should get stringent punishment. In response to a question by the reporter, I also said the question of punishing the rape survivor does not arise,” Mr. Azmi said in a statement on Sunday.
The SP leader claimed that he had mentioned several other things to the reporter in a lighter vein over telephone and did not know he was going to be quoted.
Mr. Azmi conceded that he had said that in instances where a woman was eve-teased, the police should take steps only after a thorough probe. “In cases where a man and woman are together willingly, and the woman is unhappy, she can resort to blackmail. The punishment for rape in Islam is hanging. This is a serious issue and needs to be discussed in Parliament,” the SP leader said in a press statement.
Mr. Azmi’s interview to the tabloid triggered outrage and was even criticised by his son Farhan Azmi, who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai, and his daughter-in-law Ayesha Takia. “My family members have the right to criticise me,” Mr. Azmi said.
The SP leader said he had not received any notice from the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission on the issue.