Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the Kathua and Unnao rape cases (barring the one time he said that "such incidents shake our sensibilities") has been widely discussed and commented upon. Global media houses, including The New York Times, questioned Modi's silence, especially when the prime minister is renowned for his oratory skills.
Among the critics of Modi, the latest is former prime minister Manmohan Singh — someone who has been criticised several times over the way he speaks. Taking a dig at Modi, Manmohan told The Indian Express that the prime minister "should follow his own advice to me" and "speak more often". Manmohan was dubbed as Maun mohan Singh by the Opposition at a time when the UPA-II was battling several corruption cases.
Two rape cases that evoked several reactions from all across the world, failed to get a word out of the mouth of Modi except when last Friday (13 April, 2018) the prime minister, at an event to inaugurate the BR Ambedkar memorial in New Delhi, said, "Incidents being discussed since past two days cannot be part of a civilised society. As a country, as a society we all are ashamed of it. I want to assure the nation that no criminal will be spared. Justice will be done. Our daughters will get justice. It's an insult to the freedom fighters who gave their lives for the Independence of this country. We are all ashamed as a society, as a country."
Modi's statement, however, did less to quell the anger of thousands who said that the prime minister's statement was merely lip-service.
You reach a pinnacle in your career and become a minister or state minister MP or whatever. Then out of political compulsions, you can't even react to the rape and murder of an 8 year old in your country. What use is such power? What's the point of your life?
— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) April 13, 2018
You can't hear this meme pic.twitter.com/nzrXaDEHVg
— Bollywood Gandu (@BollywoodGandu) April 13, 2018
I apologise for every single time I had joked, every meme I had shared about Manmohan Singh's silence.
At that point I had no clue of what a silent Prime Minister could actually be like.
— Abhishek Mukherjee (@ovshake42) April 13, 2018
The silence of those in power will come to haunt them. In our country, silence has the sound of complicity. Someone needs to wake up and smell an entire coffee plantation!
— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) April 13, 2018
At 9pm:the rape & murder of 8 year old Asifa.The accused raped her, drugged her, strangled her, smashed her head with a stone. Mr. Prime Minister, won’t you speak up now? Why are top women ministers in the govt silent? @narendramodi @SushmaSwaraj @smritiirani @nsitharaman
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) April 12, 2018
Hi @narendramodi, whenever you're ready to open your mouth and take some accountability for what's happening let us know. We're waiting, and we're sure as hell ain't going to forget in 2019!
— Daniel Fernandes (@absolutelydanny) April 13, 2018
When the Prime Minister does not deem it important to speak up on the inhuman,barbaric rape & murder of an 8yr old, & leader of the main opposition party does so only after much delay & when under pressure, it shows the depravity & terrible cynicism of our political class
— Ruhi Tewari (@RuhiTewari) April 13, 2018
I have not been a fan of the Congress, or Rahul, but there are times when you have to make a clear moral choice against evil.
Silence here was evil.
And we've heard who has spoken and who has not.
— Omair Ahmad (@OmairTAhmad) April 12, 2018
Manmohan, in an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, said that Modi's failure to speak led people to think that they could get away without stern action being taken. "People are misusing the authority of government. They think they can get away with it…law and order is the responsibility of state governments. The BJP government at the Centre could send instructions to its state governments to ensure that law and order is properly enforced, and minorities and Dalits and women are treated properly," he said.
The former prime minister also pointed out that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti could have handled the Kathua case more seriously by taking matters into her own hands from the very first day and conceded that there may have been pressures from her party’s coalition partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which might have slowed down processes. "There are bound to be pressures…but if it is carried to such an extent that you can condone the sad demise of an eight-year-old girl having been raped and kept for a week in a temple, that is the most shocking thing," Manmohan reportedly said.
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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2018 12:56:17 IST