At a time when the Congress government in Haryana is under attack for a spate of gang-rapes, party president and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi flew into this district on Tuesday and met the mother of a 16-year-old girl who immolated herself after being assaulted by two persons.

Soon after reaching the district, Ms. Gandhi met the mother of the victim and assured all help to the family. The girl, in her statement to the area magistrate, had narrated how she was assaulted. She allegedly doused herself with kerosene and set herself alight. She was taken to a Rohtak hospital.

After the girl died on Saturday, her mother threatened to follow suit if the perpetrators of the crime were not brought to book.

Ms. Gandhi expressed outrage at the gruesome crimes against women in the State and elsewhere, and declared that the guilty would be “severely punished’’ and justice would be done to the family.The Congress president, later at Sachha Khera in Narwana Town, denounced such acts and called for strict action against the perpetrators of such a heinous crime. “ Main is tarah ki ghatnaon ki bharpoor ninda karti hoon . Doshiyoon ko sakht se sakht saza milni chahiye [I strongly deplore such incidents. The culprits should be severely punished],” she said.

Ms. Gandhi, who was accompanied by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Union Minister Kumari Selja and State minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, acknowledged that there had been a spurt in such incidents in Haryana.

But such crimes were being reported from other States as well and no matter where they took place they should be condemned.

Incidentally, a year ago her son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had visited Mirchpur village in Hisar, where a 70-year-old Dalit man and his teenaged daughter were burnt alive.

Following Ms. Gandhi’s visit, Mr. Surjewala too criticised the “heinous crimes’’ and assured that the guilty would be brought to justice.

The Jind rape case was the 12th to be reported from the State within a month.

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