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By: Brinda Karat
The zero tolerance policy on sexual assault declared by the Narendra Modi government faced an early test when an additional district court in Jaipur issued a notice to a Central minister to appear before it in a rape case where he has been named as one of the accused.
The right thing would have been for the minister to step down till his name was cleared. But not only does he continue in office, he flaunts his proximity to top leaders in government at the Centre and in his state. It has been put out that they consider the charges to be a fabricated Congress conspiracy.
In fact, investigations by the All India Democratic Women’s Association indicate that the girl is a tragic victim of what can be described as cross-party “case fixing” and even worse, “victim fixing”. This happens in cases of sexual assault, when men of different political parties are seen to be involved in the same case or similar cases, and there is a conspiracy of silence among the parties concerned to suppress the case. In this particular case, apart from the BJP minister, important men linked to the Congress have also been named by the victim.
The girl is from Haryana, one among three daughters. She was married to a man from Ganganagar in Rajasthan. The marriage is said to have turned out to be a façade for exercising control over her and for pushing her into sex slavery. Within a few months, in 2011, the husband and his younger brother allegedly took the girl to Jaipur and offered her as a sexual bribe for favours from important people, a thank-you gift for benefits received. Banned from contact with her family, she was allegedly taken from one rented house to another, all subsequently identified by her to the police, sometimes drugged, more often beaten into submission, trafficked for the sexual gratification of those with power.
She escaped in October, fled to her home in Haryana, registered an FIR and a statement under Section 164. Contrary to the lies being spread that the whole thing is an “afterthought” since she had not reported it earlier, the FIR describes how she was “drugged and made into a call girl”. The list of men she named include a businessman known to be close to a top Congress leader in Rajasthan, an office bearer of the Youth Congress and a leader of an important caste-based organisation. Also included was the name of the then MLA of Ganganagar and now minister of the Modi government.
Demands for the minister’s resignation today by the Congress are hypocritical and self-serving. It was the Ashok Gehlot government that, seemingly to protect its own people, called the case fabricated and sabotaged the investigations. continued…