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When Will Rape Victims In Odisha Get Justice? – Opposition After Hyderabad Encounter

Bhubaneswar: The early morning encounter of four accused in the rape and murder of a 25-year-old woman veterinarian in Hyderabad has evoked a wide range of reactions from Odisha leaders cutting across party lines. State Law Minister Pratap Jena welcoming this said that police took the right step and whatever happened will act as a deterrent against criminals. On the other hand, the Opposition parties BJP and Congress, hailing the move, pointed at the current scenario in Odisha and alleged that the law and order situation has gone for a toss citing the rising atrocities against women in the State against a low rate of conviction.

“The Hyderabad incident was a very sensitive issue. In my personal opinion, the accused had done a heinous crime and deserved exemplary punishment. I don’t know what the Human Rights Commission or other organisations will say, but stern action is being taken against the rapists in some countries where rape accused are shot dead and beheaded in full public view. There is need for stringent laws against rapists in the country as well,” said the law minister.

“Instead of depending on court verdicts and lingering trial in such cases, there must be a legal provision for expeditious trial to punish these accused,” he added.

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Senior Congress leader Suresh Routray said the rapists should be killed in encounters. “Rapists should be killed in encounters. I congratulate Hyderabad police for killing the accused in the case.”

Routray however took a dig at Odisha government and alleged that the law and order situation has gone for a toss as rapes and atrocities against women are on the rise in the State.

Now take a peek into the scenario in Odisha. Recently, MoS (Home) Dibya Shankar Mishra informed the State Assembly that 2,502 rape cases were registered in 2018, while 1,149 such heinous crimes including 604 involving minors were registered in Odisha in the first six months of current calendar year.

Of the total 2,502 rape cases reported in 2018, 1,430 cases involved minor girls and 1073 cases were disposed of. “While 197 cases ended with conviction, accused persons in 867 cases were acquitted in different courts. The rate of conviction in rape cases in the state was 18.35 per cent in the year 2018.,” the minister had said.

With such a low conviction rate in Odisha, the major concern now is whether the judicial system in the State needs a reform.

Reacting on today’s development in Hyderabad, BJP national Vice President Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda said, “Delivery of justice through legal prosecution is necessary but if one tries to escape and police takes action like in the Hyderabad encounter case, we can see how public has hailed the move. It shows frustration among women.”

Asked about NHRC intervention in the encounter case, Panda asserted that the Human Rights bodies have become selective citing that their approach hasn’t been so vocal when such cases of sexual assault are reported in Odisha. “They should look at the entire spectrum and not just vouch for criminals,” he added.

BJP MP from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sarangi said, “Justice delayed is justice denied. If they (the accused in veterinarian rape and the murder case) were trying to escape, then police did the right thing by gunning them down in encounter. This is a lesson for everyone. What women need is security and respect. Any kind of punishment for rapists is less than what they actually deserve.”

“As far as Odisha is concerned, the justice delivery system hasn’t been very convincing. No doubt, law has to take its own course but if any such incident happens in my constituency, I’ll ensure police takes immediate action,” added Sarangi.

State BJP president Basanta Panda also rued that stringent action should be taken against rapists in a time-bound manner as per the law.

At a presser in Bhubaneswar, senior BJP leader Golak Mohapatra said, “Hyderabad Police should be appreciated for not letting the accused flee the spot. What happened in crime spot was under the constitutional limits. But here in Odisha, government patronises rapists which is why justice is denied to victims. There were two recent incidents- one in ‘Rangasala’ (Jajpur guest house on government land) involving a BJD leader, another in ‘Bhogasala’ (government quarters) where an ex-cop allegedly raped a minor girl. It is evident how Odisha government is facilitating criminals with places like Rangasala and Bhogasala to assault women physically.”

Ruling-BJD is yet to respond to the allegation of saffron party.

In Odisha, three barbaric sexual assault cases are still afresh in the minds of people. After it emerged that four-rape accused were killed in encounter, families of victims of Pipili, Kunduli and Rairangpur gang rape incidents expressed how denial of justice to their daughters has been hurting them since years.

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