New Delhi: Congress was on Wednesday trying to defend Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who is in the line of fire over rape incidents in his state, saying he is "not sitting with hands tied" and argued that crimes against women were happening everywhere.

Party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said the issue should not be sensationalised by the media even as the state witnessed another rape--the 15th in a month.

Asked as to why the Haryana administration was unable to check the rising incidents of rape, Chowdhury told reporters, "I am not talking about 'A' government....There is an issue in society. All over the world, crime is rising.... It is a challenge.
"The Chief Minister is not sitting with his hands tied. It is an unfair accusation. He is seized of it and he will deal with the matter."

She said that the media "should not be sensationalising" when reporting such incidnets. "Sensitivity should be there when you report these matters."

Chowdhary said that "it is not true that no action is being taken against the culprits in these matters."

She called for a collective battle against this problem.

The Congress spokesperson's defence of Haryana government over the rape controversy came a day after party President Sonia Gandhi visited Jind district and met the family of a Dalit teenaged girl, who immolated herself after being allegedly gang-raped.

Gandhi had said that perpetrators of such "barbaric" crimes must be severely punished.

The Congress spokesperson was also critical of INLD chief Om Prakash Singh Chautala's statement backing the idea of Khap panchayats to reduce the marriageable age of boys and girls to 16 years to curb incidents of sexual assault.

The spokesperson said it was "unfortunate" and that there is a need to bring about a "change in the mindset".

A Dalit girl was allegedly abducted and raped by two youths in Kasba Kalyat area of Kaithal district in the 15th incident of sexual assault on women within a month in Haryana. The victims included teenaged girls.


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