The rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in a city slum on Tuesday rocked the Assembly on Wednesday with Opposition Congress and BJP members demanding an apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. In the firing line, Naveen assured the House that the case would be fast-tracked.
The House witnessed pandemonium forcing two adjournments by Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat. The BJP MLAs sat on dharna in the well while Congress members shouted slogans and even attempted to climb the Speaker’s podium.
Raising the issue during zero hour, BJP leader K V Singhdeo accused the Government of trying to hush up the case. The State BJP president said the police hurriedly conducted postmortem of the minor girl last night and cremated the body without informing her parents. “We demand the Chief Minister clarify to the House as to why the postmortem was conducted after evening and what were its findings,” Singhdeo said. Alleging that the Government has tried to silence the victim’s parents by giving Rs 20,000, the former minister said, “It is a shame that the Government valued the life of the child so less.”
Congress MLA Anup Sai demanded an unconditional apology from the Chief Minister for the incident that took place in the capital. “There is no point in keeping 50 per cent reservation for women in urban and panchayat elections when the Government had totally failed to give security to girls,” Sai said.
Stating that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit begged apology for the Delhi rape case, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh demanded apology from the Chief Minister.
BJD member and former minister Pradeep Maharathy said the treasury benches were equally worried over the incident. “We should not take the incident lightly. People are really scared. We demand stringent laws for punishing the culprits involved in such heinous crime,” Maharathy said. The House came to order after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kalpataru Das assured the members that the Chief Minister would give a statement.
Naveen, making a statement, said he is deeply saddened. “On behalf of the august House, I once again express my heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family’’. Assuring speedy trial of the case, Naveen said he will request the judiciary to take up the case in fast-track mode. He told the House that an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh has been given to the victim’s family.