The Opposition Congress on Wednesday demanded a statement from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the series of rape of minor girls in the State including the recent gangrape in Malkangiri district.
Raising the issue during zero hour, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh referred to the Malkangiri incident in which a 13-year-old girl was raped by four persons. The girl is struggling for survival in hospital.
Quoting a recent report of the State Government, Singh said at least 115 rapes of minors were reported in January and February this year. A pregnant woman of Bhogarai in Balasore district was brutally assaulted. She has been kept in a short-stay home in Cuttack.
Ridiculing the State Government’s claim of taking stringent action against the sexual offenders, Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan said 1458 rape cases were registered in 2012 compared to 1112 cases in 2011. The police filed chargesheet in only 50 per cent cases and the rate of conviction was very low, he alleged. ‘’Is this the State Government’s stringent action against rapists?’’ he questioned.
Harichandan said that the number of gangrapes increased from 73 in 2011 to 80 in 2012. This proves that the Government has miserably failed to provide safety and security to women, particularly minor girls.
Demanding a statement from the Chief Minister, who is also Home Minister, the Congress chief whip said the people of the State has the right to know why the government failed to check rising rapes of minor girls. Congress member Naba Das, Prafulla Majhi and Gobardhan Dash also expressed concern over the rise in sexual offences against minor girls. They cited several instances of minor and dalit rape cases that took place at Rayagada, Dhenkanal, Basta in Balasore, Malkangiri and other places.
Claiming that the State Government has taken a series of measures to empower women, members of the Treasury Benches said that the opposition members are highlighting isolated incidents and trying to politicise the issue. However, a few ruling BJD members expressed concern over atrocities against women and demanded strong action against the culprits.
‘’I am really concerned on increasing sexual assault against women particularly minor girls,’’ BJD member Ananta Das said and recommended strong action against the offenders. Sipra Mallick of BJD highlighted that the Mahila and Sisu Desks opened in all 537 police stations across the State to deal with cases relating women and children. Besides, 16 fast-track courts are functioning and steps are being taken to open 18 more such courts.
Former minister Pramila Mallick said atrocities against women were more during the Congress regime.