NEW DELHI: The Congress on Wednesday stepped up its demand for the resignation of Minister of State Nihalchand Meghwal who has been summoned by a court in a rape case in his home state of Rajasthan.
The Congress women’s wing staged a protest in front of the BJP headquarters at 11, Ashok Road here and climbed over police barricades.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised in Parliament zero tolerance towards for crime against women. So we want to ask him if this is zero tolerance?” Mahila Congress chief Shobha Oza said, accusing the Centre of using different yardsticks for different states. “When rape cases are reported from Uttar Pradesh, they demand the President’s rule. When the crime happens in Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan, they keep quiet,” Oza added, alleging that “the victim was being intimidated to retract her statement”.
A Dalit leader, Meghwal, is the sole entrant from Rajasthan in Modi’s Council of Ministers. He was named in a 2011 FIR filed by a woman who alleged that her husband had repeatedly drugged her and allowed his friends, including the minister, to rape her.
However in 2012, police closed the case, saying the charges were false and fabricated. When the victim subsequently approached a district court, the charges were dismissed. She filed a review petition, following which an additional district judge last week issued notices to Meghwal and 17 others, asking them to respond to the charges by August 20. When approached by the media, Meghwal flatly refused to comment on the allegations or the fact that the victim had sought time from the Prime Minister. “Why should I give you an explanation? Did you make me a minister?” he reacted angrily.