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'Only reason she is dead is...': Rahul Gandhi slams BJP over Uttarakhand teen’s murder

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Kochi, Sep 27: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the BJP-ruled government in Uttarakhand over the alleged murder of a 19-year-old woman saying the only reason she is dead is because she refused to become a prostitute.

Rahul Gandhi

"The only reason she is dead is, that she refused to become a prostitute. And what did the chief minister of the state do? He is destroying the evidence in the case by destroying the hotel so that nobody can find out what happened. This, brothers and sisters, is the ideology of the BJP," Rahul Gandhi said during his 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' address in Kerala.

"Imagine a BJP leader owns a hotel, his son is forcing a woman to become a prostitute. There are messages on her WhatsApp where she is saying 'I refuse to become a prostitute'. They (BJP) are offering her Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 to become a prostitute. And... when this sister of ours refused to become a prostitute, she was found dead in a lake," Rahul said.

Watch: As Rajasthan Congress plunges into crisis, Rahul Gandhi seen playing ball in KeralaWatch: As Rajasthan Congress plunges into crisis, Rahul Gandhi seen playing ball in Kerala

"It is the most disgusting, the most shameful example of how the BJP and RSS treat women in this country. The ideology of BJP and RSS views women as objects and second class citizens. India can never succeed with this ideology. A country which cannot learn to respect its women or empower them, can never achieve anything.

"A country which views its women as second class citizens is doomed to failure," he said while addressing a huge crowd -- many of whom were carrying placards saying 'Justice for Ankita', 'Justice for Indian women' and 'BJP se beti bachao' -- outside the Thachinganadam High School here at end of the day's Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Later in a tweet, he said, "India's women are our biggest strength. But they are being treated as 'objects' by the BJP. A most disgusting example is the murder of Ankita in Uttarakhand. BJP's CM bulldozed all evidence to protect the accused. We will not allow BJP to treat women as second-class citizens."

The former Congress chief asked the crowd in Malappuram and Congress leaders to maintain one-minute silence in memory of Bhandari and what she had suffered "to send a message to BJP that we are not going to allow you to treat women of India in this manner."

Ankita Bhandari's body was found in the Cheela canal close to Rishikesh on September 24, six days after her parents found her missing from her room.

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