Opposition walkout in protest against gang rapes

BJP member O. Rajagopal joints the walkout as the last person to leave the HouseThiruvananthapuram: The Opposition walked out of the Assembly on Friday in protest against the police handling of gang rape of woman by a CPI (M) councillor and his friends at Wadakkancherry and other atrocities against women in different parts of the State.

Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said that two gang rapes and three other rapes had been reported on Thursday.  Such incidents were happening every day.  At Wadakkancherry, police questioned the victim in front of public and harassed her at the police station. She was forced to testify before magistrate that she had not been raped.

Mr. Chennithala asked why the CPI (M) had not taken action against its councillor and demanded that the Circle Inspector involved should be suspended pending enquiry.

The issue was raised by Anil Akkara (Congress) through a notice for an adjournment motion. Mr. Akkara demanded that the incident should be enquired into by a women police officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police.

Law Minister A. K. Balan said that the government took the incidents seriously. The accused would not be given any protection by the party or the government.

He said that the culprits had been arrested in a few of the five cases. Investigation to locate the culprits was underway in other cases.

The House saw noisy scenes over Mr. Balan’s suggestion that Mr. Akkara could approach the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Guruvyoor, who was heading the investigation, with details of his complaint. Mr. Balan later withdrew his suggestion and said that the government would look into the matter, if Mr. Akkara had any complaints about the investigation.

In view of explanation given by Mr. Balan, the Speaker refused permission to Mr. Akkara to move his motion. The UDF and Kerala Congress then walked out. BJP member O. Rajagopal also joined the walkout.