Kopardi Rape : State govt response is sluggish

Opposition may bring no confidence motion against Speaker.

Mumbai : Sometimes there is no political unanimity even on gruesome matters like rape. On Monday, after the opposition failed to persuade the Speaker to adjourn the House to facilitate a debate on the heinous rape and murder of a minor in Kopardi, the Congress and the NCP are thinking of bringing a joint no confidence motion against the speaker of the legislative assembly Haribhau Bagde.

Though there was no official confirmation of this, senior NCP member Dileep Valse-Patil indicated that the party leadership might be mulling such a motion. However, it takes even a notice for no-confidence motion at least a fortnight before it can come up for debate. This means that there can’t be any action on the issue for some time.

It was on July 13 in Kopardi that the family of a 15-year-old schoolgirl found her badly-mutilated, blood-splattered body in a field. She was gang raped by at least three persons, her teeth and limbs were broken.

Protests, road blocks, shutdowns and processions have been held in Kopargaon, Ahmednagar, Beed, Osmanabad, Pune and other parts of the state to condemn the crime, yet in the House the matter is yet to acquire a certain urgency.

Earlier in the day, as the House gathered for the monsoon session, leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil sought permission from the speaker to move an adjournment motion on the rape issue. “The nature of crime is gruesome and the apathy of the administration is even worrysome,” he said and demanded that the Chief Minister should apologize to the people of the state for failure of the law enforcement machinery.

“The house needs to discuss and debate the crime, setting aside all other business, so that the right message goes to the people across the state,” he said.

Senior NCP leaders Dilip Valse-Patil and Ajit Pawar supported Vikhe-Patil’s demand to move the motion. Valse-Patil described the incident in detail and wanted to know whether law and order indeed exists in the state, while Pawar urged the government to look at the case from a humane angle. “Presume that the victim is a family member and allow the discussion,” he said.

The speaker then allowed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to speak who made a statement over the issue and described various measures taken by the state government. The case would be heard in a fast track court and Ujjwal Nikam would be the public prosecutor, the CM said as he announced a relief of Rs 8 lakh for the family of the victim. While moving an adjournment motion In the Legislative council, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde said people are outraged over the incident but the government is not showing any seriousness in addressing the matter.”The Chief Minister and guardian minister have no time. The Chief Minister is merely interested in protecting his colleagues and attempts are being to cover up the incident. Young girls dread going to their schools,” Munde said.

Congress leader Nitesh Rane said that Fadnavis can have dinner with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray but has no time to visit the victim’s family.

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