BANGALORE: Chaos reigned in the Assembly on Friday over the rape of two minor girls in Bangalore and the increasing atrocities on women in the city.
The issue continued to dominate the House for the fourth consecutive day, which resulted in the Opposition BJP members boycotting the day’s session and cornering the state government.
As the House assembled on Friday, the BJP members protested with black ribbons tied around the necks. The government was further embarrassed after the opposition charged that as many as 17 cases of rape and sexual assault have been reported recently .
The BJP members were in no mood to hear Home Minister George and demanded his resignation. They demanded that Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa set aside routine transactions and allow a debate under an adjournment motion moved by them and the JD(S). However, the Speaker informed them that he would allow a discussion after the reply on the demand for grants for the Higher Education Department.
But the BJP members said the government should make a suo motu statement as the issue is of utmost importance. They said the government needs to send a strong message to the culprits.
The Speaker adjourned the House when the BJP members entered the well raising slogans against the government.
When the House reassembled, the Speaker permitted the BJP and JD(S) members to make a preliminary submission on whether the discussion should be taken up under Rule 60.
BJP MLA Visveshwara Hegde Kageri said 10 rape cases have been reported in one week and many might have gone unreported. Referring to the minor’s rape in a Bangalore school, he urged the government to pull up the school authorities. “How can they force parents to give an undertaking that the school is not responsible for the safety of their child?” he said.
When Kageri sought a discussion under Rule 60 considering the gravity of the crime and also read out the list of rapes reported in a week, Thimmappa wanted to know the date and other details to verify whether these happened in the last couple of days.
Kageri retorted that it would be an insult to the victims if the House did not discuss the issue. “Don’t preach me on the issue. My stand is clear, both legally and precedent-wise. Don’t threaten me. I know my job. I will see what will happen,” he said.
When the Opposition members charged that he was shielding the government, the Speaker said he did not want lessons from members. When he referred to incidents of setting fire to churches in the state, the BJP members said they are ready for a debate on the issue.
Kageri charged that parents are afraid to send their children to schools. Talking about the Fraser Town rape, he criticised the government for not arresting the inspector immediately. The home minister also has not made a statement in the last three days on the six-year-old girl’s rape in a school, he said.
BJP’s Suresh Kumar said everyone should feel and share the agony of the parents of the victims. “If we are unable to discuss this issue, what else will we discuss?” he asked.
JD(S) leader Y S V Datta appealed to the House to open a serious debate that brings respect to the House. He also sought action against the school management.
When the Speaker announced that the issue would be taken up under Rule 69 for discussion, the BJP members accused him of defending the government and lashed out at the home minister.
CM Loses Cool, Promises Action
Intervening during the debate, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah lost his cool when the BJP members charged that the Congress has no moral right to remain in power.
Siddaramaiah said he had made a statement on the law and order situation and defended the Speaker’s decision not to allow an adjournment motion. He assured the House that the government will take tough action against the culprits. He said an FIR was filed against the inspector and he was arrested.
Claiming that this is the first time an FIR has been registered against a police inspector, he said, “You have no right to question our government as there are rape accused in your party.”
The BJP members then walked out and staged a protest in front of the statue of former chief minister Kengal Hanumanthaiah for not allowing a debate.
Speaking to reporters later, Siddaramaiah said the government will take action against the school authorities.
He said responsibility will be fixed on the management and the physical instructor for committing the heinous crime.
He said the government has directed the police to act tough against those involved in rape and atrocities on women.
“The government strongly believes in providing safety and security for women and children. But, the BJP has listed out rapes that occurred in the past to mislead the public’,” he said.
‘I was not Sleeping’
When reporters asked Chief Minister Siddaramaiah whether he was sleeping when the House was discussing the increase in sexual assault cases, he shot back, “Who said I was sleeping? It is baseless. I am for safety of women.”
BJP men Meet Rajnath, brief him about rise in rape cases
Bangalore: The state BJP leaders met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and briefed him about the rise in number of rapes in Karnataka. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar, who is in Delhi, told Express on Friday that the leaders informed Singh about the increase in rape cases in Bangalore, especially in the past 10 days. Rajnath was told about the strategy adopted by the party in both the Houses including the demand for the resignation of Home Minister KJ George, Shettar said. He said they do not plan to meet Union Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi to brief her about the issue. Shettar said senior party leaders would meet on Monday to decide the stand the party would be adopting in both the Houses.
Legislative Council Adjourned
Bangalore: The Legislative Council on Friday adjourned without transacting any business as the rape of a six-year-old girl in a private school in Bangalore continued to inflame passions.
Raising the issue immediately after the Council resumed, Leader of Opposition K S Eshwarappa urged Chairman D H Shankaramurthy to set aside other businesses, including the question hour, to take up his notice on an adjournment motion on the issue.
Maintaining that the state’s credibility was hit badly because of the increase in atrocities on women, Eshwarappa charged that as many as eight rape cases were reported in a span of one week. The House witnessed chaotic scenes after Congress and BJP members hurled charges and counter-charges at each other. This resulted in the House being adjourned for 30 minutes.
When the House met again, BJP and ruling Congress members remained firm on their stand. Home Minister K J George said the BJP was trying to politicise the issue. He said the state police have been given free hand to bring the culprits to book and prevent future incidents of crimes against women.
Eshwarappa demanded that George resign as home minister owning responsibility for his failure to rein in the offenders.
Chairman Shankaramurthy, who tried in vain to restore order, adjourned the House till Monday.