The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rape parade heat on Atal
Digvijay Singh

New Delhi, Nov. 3: Chief minister Digvijay Singh today sought action against the BJP, the Prime Minister and Uma Bharti for parading Jamnibai as one of several rape victims in Madhya Pradesh during the Congress reign.

He urged the Election Commission to proceed according to law against Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Bharti and other BJP leaders present on the dais at the party’s October 19 Bhopal rally for indulging in practices defined as “corrupt” in the model code of conduct.

The chief minister also sought the invocation of Section 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation) and Allotment Order, 1968, to derecognise the BJP as a national party and freeze its lotus symbol.

Pushed on to the backfoot by the BJP’s chief ministerial nominee, Digvijay today accused Bharti of bribing Jamnibai with Rs 1 lakh on October 11 to get her to appear on the dais at the Bhopal rally.

The chief minister made the allegation in a memorandum he submitted to the commission today. He released its copies to the media this evening at a news conference at the Congress headquarters here.

According to Digvijay, Bharti was thus guilty of violating the conduct code that came into effect on October 6. Her actions also attract the Indian Penal Code, including Section 294 that is punishable with imprisonment of up to three months or a fine or both, he contended.

Vajpayee, the chief minister alleged, was guilty of allowing public exhibition of an alleged rape victim by virtue of attending the rally and approving Bharti’s move. A rape victim, he said, can only be presented in camera and not before a crowd.

“Never before in the history of any civilised nationhood, the Prime Minister of a country from a public platform — while addressing a gathering of women — has shared and approved the humiliation of poor women before such a mass gathering for political mileage. The country hangs its head in shame,” Digvijay said.

He, however, admitted he was not sure if the Prime Minister knew of the parading beforehand. Still, Vajpayee, he alleged, had committed a grave and brazen violation of human rights by “putting the entire community of people and especially our respect for womanhood in abject shame”.

The chief minister submitted the six-page memorandum along with the text of Bharti’s rally speech and evidence of the alleged fixed deposit made in the name of Jamnibai and Raghunandan Sharma.

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