Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh's mercy plea for serial rapists should not come as a surprise to anyone. The party chief's sympathy towards perpetrators of violence against women can be explained by the fact that many of his party members have been charged with committing serious crimes against women. At least three SP's MLAs and one of its candidate for the ongoing Lok Sabha election have been charged with rape (IPC Section 376) and obscene acts and songs (IPC Section 294).
MLAs Sribhagwan Sharma, Anoop Sanda and Manoj Kumar Paras have declared rape charges in their sworn affidavits submitted to the Election Commission of India. Sharma, 37, who is an MLA from Debai in Bulandshahr district is also charged with obscene acts and songs among other offences of robbery and attempt to murder. Sanda from Sultanpur has charges of rape and criminal intimidation slapped on him.
Another of its MLA from Chitrakoot, Veer Singh is charged with obscene acts and songs along with rioting, murdering, kidnapping and extortion, while Viresh Yadav, MLA from Aligarh, has charges related to causing miscarriage without woman's consent.
Vinay Tiwari from Gola Gokrannath has been charged under section 377 on charges related to unnatural offences, considering he also charged with murder and rioting, the act is very unlikely to be consensual.
Not only this. About 40 of its sitting MLAs have been charged with serious crimes like murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion. It makes really 10 per cent of the total Assembly strength of Uttar Pradesh.
Ones who are contesting on SP ticket in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, at least 11 MP-aspirants have declared serious cases of murder, extortion, kidnapping and rioting on their affidavit submitted to the Election Commission of India. One of its Lok Sabha candidate from Bijnor, Shahnawaj Rana has been accused of attempt to rape. Rana has 11 cases against him, including attempt to murder and charges related to robbery.
It is worth noting that the SP supremo and his party members were at the forefront of obstructing the anti-rape legislation that was introduced in Parliament in April 2013.
While the nation had been clamouring for stronger laws to prevent crimes against women, Singh was of the opinion that stricter laws would lead to a recruitment embargo on women at the workplace.
"Employers will worry about recruiting women. We cannot have separate markets, schools or offices for women, where men will not look at them or walk behind them," he had said when the Bill was being debated in Lok Sabha.
Another SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, also SP supremo's brother, went a step ahead and said the Bill was being drafted on the recommendations of "mentally-retarded people".