Cong gherao SCW office, demand Jyoti removal

Bhubaneswar: Intensifying its agitation demanding removal of Jyoti Panigrahi as chairperson of State Commission for Women (SCW) over the alleged Pipli rape case, Congress activists today gheraoed the SCW office and got the support of five Opposition parties on the issue.

Activists led by State Mahila Congress president Bijaylaxmi Sahoo staged a demonstration and demanded removal and arrest of Panigrahi who in her report to the state government mentioned that there was no credible evidence of rape of the 19-year-old Dalit girl.

"Panigrahi has no moral right to continue in the post as she attempted to protect the accused persons," said Sahoo. CPI, CPI(M), Forward Bloc, RJD and SP in a joint memorandum to the governor demanded Panigrahi`s removal terming the SCW`s report as "distorted". The SCW chairperson, however, said, "I will like to request the leaders to understand agony of a girl who is struggling for survival at the ICU. The girl may feel shocked to know after her recovery that she has been described as a rape victim."

Meanwhile, a two-member team of the National Commission for Scheduled Caste led by its director Dibakar Basak visited Arjundaga village in Puri district and met family members of the victim. The team also met Home Secretary U N Behera and doctors at government hospitals at Pipili and Capital Hospital here. The team members were scheduled to meet the victim at the SCB medical college hospital in Cuttack tomorrow.