NATIONAL

AIDWA accuses BJP of `politicising' rape incident

NEW DELHI OCT. 22. The All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) has criticised what it called the `trivialisation and sensationalisation' of a rape incident by the Bharatiya Janata Party at an election rally in Bhopal addressed by the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In a statement issued here today, the AIDWA general secretary, Brinda Karat, said that increasing violence against women was an issue that political parties must address but to parade a victim of rape in a `bid to win votes', as was done at the rally, was to mock at the efforts of women's organisations to bring the anti-rape struggles on to the political agenda.

Ms. Karat said the BJP's efforts to `manipulate the issue and exploit the woman concerned for electoral purposes proved the fact that they had not lifted a finger to help the woman they paraded'.

She said the woman's complaint of rape made in 1994 was rejected by the court that convicted the criminals for the murder of her husband while exonerating them of the charge of rape.

Since the party knew of the case why did it not appeal against the court decision and help the woman in her struggle for justice, Ms. Karat asked.

She demanded a public apology from the BJP on behalf of the woman.

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