Women's rally in Posco casts its shadow over House
The Assembly on Friday witnessed noisy scenes when Congress members rushed to the well of the House protesting Speaker Pradip Amat’s decision not to allow discussion on the admissibility of an adjournment motion notice on the growing atrocities against women in the State.
Congress members trooped into the well as soon as question hour began taking strong exception to the Speaker’s decision. Normalcy returned after the Speaker asked the members to allow the House to proceed with question hour.
The issue again cropped up during zero hour with Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh criticising the Speaker for not taking up discussion on growing atrocities against women in the State when the entire world is observing the Women’s Day. Stating that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had admitted that atrocities on women had increased in the State during the last session of the House, Singh condemned police action against women, some of whom had stripped at the Posco site on Thursday.
Citing several incidents of rape in the State in the recent past, he said the gangrapes at Bhograi, Baripada district hospital, and Rayagada have exposed the State Government’s failure to provide security to women. Alleging that the State Government’s slogan is only a facade to protect Naveen’s image, Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan asked why the State Authority for Empowerment of Women has not met for the last two years.
While the Chief Minister is the chairman of the authority, 13 other ministers are its members, he said.
Harichandan alleged that Odisha reports 73 gangrapes in a year while the number of rapes has increased alarmingly. According to the latest report of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), atrocities against women in the State have grown by over 22 per cent against the national average of 18.
Stating that there are several instances in the past when the Speaker had allowed discussion on admissibility on adjournment motion notices when the House also passed demands for grant of two departments, Harichandan said the issue raised by the members was of urgent public importance.
Harichandan, who had requested the Speaker to reconsider the decision in writing as per the procedure, demanded a ruling from him on the issue. His party colleague Santosh Singh Saluja alleged that the nude protest by women at Posco site and police atrocities on them have brought disrepute to the State. Alleging that chargesheets were submitted only in 13 cases of rape though 1,103 cases were registered last year, Saluja said more than 10,000 cases of rapes have taken place in the State during the last several years.
The Speaker, however, said he rejected the notice as it was not based on any recent occurrence. As the Congress members were in the well shouting slogans, he adjourned the House till 3 pm.