After inviting public ire followed by the state women's commission notice over his controversial remarks made two days back, Abu Asim Azmi, the state chief of Samajwadi party sought to defend himself in a press conference called by presenting himself as a champion of women issues.
"Islam respects women the most, so as I as I am the father of five daughters. Only an insane person can say that hang the rape victims," said Azmi. He added, "In fact, it was our party, which supported Phulan Devi helping her to come out of the jail and to get her elected as the Member of the parliament." Phulan was the bandit queen of UP who took to guns after the ganrape.
Azmi and his party is receiving flak from across India for his remarks where he was said to stated that consentual or non-consentual, women having sex outside the wedlock should be given capital punishment along with the men. The state women commision has also taken a cognisance asking Azmi to depose before the commission on to present his side. Azmi however denied having recived any notice.
Presenting the transcript of his conversation with the tabloid which led to the controversy, Azmi claimed that it was a slip of tongue as he was asked to respond over phone that too when he was campaigning. Azmi said, "I clarified my views in the same telephonic conversation later when asked to elaborate but still the wrong statement was carried to sensationalise the issue."
When asked about his fresh views over the capital punishment to rapists, the question which was thrown to him to respond which led to the controversy , Azmi put forth a differnt version. He said,"Yes, rapists should be hanged as per the law of teh land. Islam also prescribes the capital punishment for the rapist." When asked if he didn't share the party's national chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's views who opposed the capital punishment for the rapists, Azmi gave vague answer. "You have to see the context of his statement. I would not to comment further."
However, he insisted was still against the sex out of wedlock as Islam doesn't permit so. He added, "Many women have consensual sex but cry rape when things go awry. In such case, the men are punished and their whole life is destroyed. Anti-rape law like anti-dowry law is being misused. There must be a debate on this issue."
"I didn't go to Matoshree, have no business with Raj Thackeray"
Azmi also refuted the charges of having business with Raj thackeray or visiting Matoshree, the residence of Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief. The news pertaining to these were being circulated in Mumbai for quite sometime. A photograph of Azmi wearing a saffron shawl is doing rounds through whatsApp-a mobile messaging service. "This photo in which I am wearing saffron shawl was taken at the wedding of one of my acquaintances with a Sena leader in Bhiwandi," claimed Azmi. He also rejected the charges of him having business with the MNS chief Raj Thackeray. "I have never met Raj in my life. If anyone provides teh proof of my ties with Raj, I will give all my property to that person," said Azmi who is the richest MLA in the state Assembly. Azmi had assets worth Rs126 crore as per teh affidavit filed during 2009 election.