Politics

Attempted Abduction Was Only Filmi-Style ‘Boy Chase Girl’ Says Modi’s Minister

In a series of tweets, Babul Supriyo, who is Union minister of state for heavy industry, made light of the crime a senior BJP leader’s son in Chandigarh has been accused of committing.

Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo. Credit: PTI

Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Less than 24 hours after BJP spokesperson Shaina N.C. attacked the character of Varnika Kundu –  the young woman whom goons in Chandigarh had attempted to abduct on Saturday – Union minister Babul Supriyo leapt into the fray with a series of tweets which sought to make light of the crime with the kind of ‘boys will be boys’ logic that other politicians have resorted to in the past.

Following Shaina’s footsteps, who drew widespread ridicule for deleting her tweet and then blaming “mischievous folks” for having hacked her account, Supriyo too on Wednesday deleted one of his tweets where he tried to normalise stalking by claiming that it is common in colleges.

In her complaint, Kundu, a DJ and daughter of an IAS officer, accused Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar of chasing her through the streets of the city with the intention of kidnapping her.

Barala and his friend, Ashish Kumar, were arrested on Saturday and later released on bail.

On Tuesday, Supriyo, who is a singer-turned-BJP politician from Bengal and minister of state for heavy industries in the Modi government, posted a series of tweets from his verified handle:

Screenshot of Union minister Babul Supriyo’s first tweet.

Screenshot of Union minister Babul Supriyo’s second tweet.

 

Screenshot of Union minister Babul Supriyo’s third tweet.

Resorting to whataboutery, Supriyo asked why the “justice seekers weren’t raising their voices for the 61-year-old woman who was raped in West Bengal”.

Screenshot of Union minister Babul Supriyo’s fourth tweet.

The two men in Chandigarh were initially arrested and charged under Section 354 D (stalking) of the IPC and Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs) as well as the more serious Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 365 (kidnapping) and 511 (attempt to commit offences punishable with imprisonment).


Also read: ‘Someone Has to Stand Up to Goons From Influential Families. We Are Standing. So Long as We Can’


However, the charges were later reduced and the two men were released on bail. After facing a backlash for their U-turn, the police said that they were seeking legal opinion regarding the dropped sections.

When asked by The Wire‘s social media editor, Karnika Kohli, whether he thought Barala was merely trying to play hide and seek with the woman, Supriyo bizarrely accused Kohli of having a “dirty mind”:

Supriyo also slammed the media for being unfair to the accused.

#ApologizeBabulSupriyo: How Twitter reacted

After being called out for being misogynistic, Supriyo, whose Twitter bio states that his ‘team has fun blocking handles’, tweeted:


Shaina NC, who tweeted an old image of Kundu with two boys on Monday – one of whom she misidentified as Vikas Barala – and referred to the DJ as “so called victim beti”, had claimed that some “mischievous folks” had briefly “hacked” her account.

Ramveer Bhatti, vice president of the BJP In Haryana, also blamed the young woman for “staying out so late in the night”.

Assailant’s family resorts to victim-shaming

In a Facebook post, that has now been deleted, a member of the Barala family, Kuldeep Barala – who also describes himself as having “worked at Bharatiya Janata party” –  shared a photo of the victim with two men and implied that she was drunk at the time of the incident.

In another post, the man shared an old photograph of Kundu with glasses of alcohol  in the foreground, again trying to raise questions about her character, and claimed that the incident was being blown our of proportion by the Opposition to malign the BJP leader’s image. The images were lifted from her Facebook page.

‘Varnika is like my daughter’

Breaking his silence, Vikas Barala’s father addressed the media on Tuesday. “Varnika is like my daughter, there is no pressure to influence the investigation,” said Barala.

“The law should take its own course, the BJP is a party which believes in women’s rights and freedom,” he added.

Note: This story was updated on August 10 to include information that Supriyo deleted one of his tweets.

  • Anjan Basu

    All the spit and polish cannot mask the ugliness of the true-blue Sanghi psyche. While the lady ‘complains’ her tweeter account had been hacked into ( presumably by the stalker’s victim?), the minister plays homage to his original vocation by singing appropriate tunes from his college days. What a crowd we have here, what an extra-ordinary crowd!

  • Anjan Basu

    We now know at least one minister’s favourite pastime while at college. He needs to be told, though, that most ‘ordinary’ Indians do not share this passion for

  • Amitabha Basu

    The despicable social character of a large number of Sanghi spokespersons, legislators and MP’s is on public display. It is up to the ordinary citizen to recognise these characters for what they really are and send them packing to the garbage bin of society, where they truly belong.

  • Some0ne SomeWhere

    Min Babul must not forget what he was and if some day his power ends,he will have a normal life like others and god knows what else.So he can just keep his mouth shut and let the law takes it’s course.If no evidence is been found that doesn’t mean that the guy isn’t guilty.It simply means he has used his father’s power to erase any proof.Itna to hum sab bewakuf ko samajh aata hai.Ye min log kyun nahi samajhte?Jab tak democracy hai,kuch bhi ho sakta hai.

  • ujjwal

    What has this country reduced to , all in the name of “:Hindu Rashtra” and Worship of so called ” Messiah” of Hindutwa like Modi and BJPee . Are we even Human anymore ? Is this “Indian/Hindu” Culture we talk about ?
    Isn’t this Renaissance of “Raj” where Kings and his men could abduct any women on street and thats legal ?

  • alok asthana

    What else. His party leaders is a tadi-paar. Is there some parallel of this ( a tadi par being a party leader) anywhere in the world. One of the earlier leaders was caught taking bribe and convicted for it.

  • Anjan Basu

    While I must thank you for the very kind things you say about my comments here, I went to a fairly ordinary, Bengali-medium school in a little town not far from Kolkata. But, while there was nothing very special about the school, we were privileged to have a few outstanding teachers who could hold their own even in the most distinguished community of teachers anywhere. The English teacher in our senior years was by far the best teacher I have seen yet. Since he happened to be also my father, I grew up admiring good writing and a nice turn of phrase. But no more than a tiny bit of a proper linguistic skillset rubbed off on me in the end.

  • Anjan Basu

    I am indeed touched by your generosity towards a fellow commenter. It is not often that one comes across a ‘soul mate’, more so in these troubled times, and so I feel doubly grateful. And, yes, I happen to be a small-time writer as well. It would be wonderful to be able to stay in touch. My very best wishes to you!

  • Anjan Basu

    Since you showed interest in my writing, can I please direct your attention to two little pieces that The Wire carried recently? One was on the poet Lorca’s Granada home ( can be found in the ‘culture’ / ‘Society’ section of 2nd Sept) and the other was a review of the historian Eric Hobsbawm’s autobiography ( can be seen in the ‘books’/ Society’ segment of 10th Sept). My apologies for taking this rather unconventional route of ‘hard-selling’ my work.