GUWAHATI: Activists in Meghalaya have slammed the state’s Congress-led coalition government for retaining a insurgent leader-turned-MLA, who has been in judicial custody since December for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl, in two Assembly committees.
Last week, a notification by the Assembly secretariat had the name of rape accused Julius K Dorphang and others in the Committee of Privileges and the Committee on Subordinate Legislations.
Activist Agnes Kharshiing of the Civil Society Women Organisation said the government awarded Dorphang when it was expected to fast-track justice for the victim.
The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) of Meghalaya appealed to Assembly speaker Abu Taher Mondal to look into the matter as the MLA was facing charges under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.
“Retaining him in the House panels sends across a wrong message,” SCPCR chairperson Meena Kharkongor said.
But the speaker said, “He (Dorphang) was already in the committees whose terms had only been extended as no new committees will be formed till the next elections”.
The 51-year-old independent MLA, representing the Mawhati constituency, was arrested in December from Guwahati and had gone underground after being booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act.
He had allegedly raped the girl at a Shillong guest house, which is allegedly run by the wife of state home minister HDR Lyngdoh. In an FIR, the victim had named at least eight people. The alleged rape came to light after a waiter of the guest house was arrested for allegedly trafficking the victim.
Dorphang is the founder-chairman of a Meghalaya-based banned insurgent group. He gave up arms in 2007.