Bhubaneswar: After the Holi break, the Odisha Assembly began on a stormy note on Monday with Opposition Congress members demanding a statement from the chief minister on the steps the government had taken against the anti-socials who had allegedly raped a college girl inside a running car six days ago.
Unable to run the proceedings, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12.45 PM. However, normalcy returned in the House after the adjournment.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati referred to the shocking news on the gang rape of a college girl by some anti-socials inside a running car on the road between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar on March 23 published in the front page of Odia vernacular daily ‘Dharitri’ on March 26.
Alleging that no action had been taken against the anti-socials so far, he demanded a clarification from the chief minister.
Supporting his contention, the Congress members rushed to the Well of the House and drew the attention of the Deputy Speaker to the issue.
Though BJP member KV Singhdeo wanted to raise another issue during Zero Hour, he was not allowed to speak by the Congress members as they stuck to their demands.
Amid the commotion, the Deputy Speaker adjourned the House till 12.45 PM.
Talking to OTV after the adjournment of the House, Bahinipati said the college girl, picked up by a private taxi service from Cuttack, was repeatedly raped by two anti-socials who were sitting on the back seat of the car. However, the girl managed to escape from the car and was rescued by the people after it arrived in Bhubaneswar.
“It is really shocking to know that the police is yet to arrest the anti-socials. Why has the BJD government, which always talks about respect to the women, not taken any action till date? We demand a clarification from the chief minister in this regard since he is in charge of the Home portfolio and it is his responsibility to make a statement in the House,” he demanded.
Asked about the resentment of BJP member KV Singhdeo, who was not allowed to raise his issue in the House, Bahinipati said the Congress always gives respect to the BJP leader.
“The Congress had no intention to restrain the BJP leader. Since it is an issue of respect to a woman, it should have been discussed in the House,” he said.
On Singhdeo’s allegation that both BJD and Congress party have secret ties ans they are not allowing him to speak in the House every time he wanted to raise an issue, Bahinipati scotched the same.
“Rather they (BJP and BJD) are old friends due to the coalition government at both Centre and State,” he mentioned.
BJP member Pradip Purohit said the gang rape of a college girl is no doubt a very sensitive issue. It clearly reflects the gross failure of the police and its intelligence network. “The State Police and the State Intelligence wing are busy in providing security to the chief minister. Neither the police has made any attempt to nab the anti-socials nor has it shown any urgency to trace them out. It seems that the police is trying to hush up the matter. We strongly condemn the inaction of the police and the state administration,” he observed.
But the BJP leader said it would have been better if the Congress members had allowed KV Singhdeo to make his statement on Adarsh Vidyalayas. “The Congress could have raised the matter after Singhdeo made his statement. We were ready to support the Congress and demanded a clarification from the chief minister,” he said.
In his reaction, BJD spokesperson Dibyashankar Mishra said the government had set up special courts to punish the criminals. “While the state government is keen on providing adequate security to women, the allegation of the Opposition that the government is trying to hush up such a sensitive case is grossly unfortunate,” he pointed out.
Mishra further said while the issue needs to be debated in the House, the attempt made by the Congress to stall the House proceedings is unjustified. “Police is trying its best to track down the criminals and bring them to book,” he added.