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regular-article-logo Sunday, 03 March 2024

Opposition jabs BJP on exploitation of women

Saffron party facing flak over allegations on its leaders

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 31.07.22, 01:02 AM
Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar

Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar File picture

The allegation that Meghalaya BJP vice-president Bernard Marak was running a brothel in which children were forced into prostitution has prompted the Congress to bring up several such shameful incidents involving exploitation of women that show the ruling party in a bad light.

Marak, who was on the run, has been arrested from Uttar Pradesh.

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In a fresh scandal involving another BJP leader, Gujarat rural development minister Arjunsinh Chauhan has been accused of keeping a woman in confinement and raping her.

Opposition parties on Saturday questioned the BJP’s women members who had kicked up a ruckus in Parliament because Congress spokesperson Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury described the President as “Rashtrapatni”, although he had promptly apologised and said it was a slip of the tongue.

Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar asked Smriti Irani and TV anchors why they were silent on these incidents.

Reacting to the scandal involving the Gujarat minister, Trinamul Congress leader Derek O’brien also tweeted: “Dear PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, look forward to seeing you both Monday morning in Parliament. Since you are ever so eager to raise issues of Opposition disrespecting women, all of us will be waiting. 11am Monday. See you then. PS: If 56 inch can’t come, send the number two.”

The Congress, which was at the receiving end because of its Lok Sabha leader Adhir Chowdhury’s mistake, presented a list of shameful incidents to expose the BJP.

Spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said: “On July 22, on the outskirts of Tura in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district, 73 people, including 23 women, were arrested and five children, including a minor girl, were rescued after a raid by the police in the farmhouse of the state’s BJP vice-president Bernard Marak. The 30-room farmhouse was earlier linked to a crime reported by a person on February 28, concerning his minor daughter who told the court that she and her friend were taken to the farmhouse and sexually assaulted multiple times over one week, according to West Garo Hills superintendent of police Vivekananda Singh Rathore, who led the raid on the farmhouse on Friday night.”

Kumar added: “Meghalaya police found explosive materials and traditional arms during the raid at Marak’s farmhouse. They recovered 35 gelatine sticks and 100 detonators, four crossbows and 15 arrows. In addition to that 27 vehicles, eight two-wheelers, about 400 bottles of liquor, and over 500 unused packets of contraceptives were also recovered.

The charges under Pocso Act against Marak were filed after one of the minor girls rescued from the farmhouse was medically examined and found to be sexually assaulted numerous times.

Marak had a criminal background, with over 25 cases registered against him. But the BJP has not yet sacked him.”

On the Gujarat incident, Kumar said: “Minister Arjunsinh was raping a woman for five years. Complaint has been lodged. Is Smriti Irani concerned? Is Nirmala Sitharaman angry? Will J.P. Nadda speak up?

“Kuldeep Sengar rapes a girl and mows down her father. Swamy Chinmayanand exploited a law student for long. Nihal Chand of Rajasthan became a minister despite a rape case. Asa Ram Bapu was supported by the BJP. As a former police officer, I can say we never saw such injustice.”

The Congress spokesperson said these were not isolated incidents.

“On October 12, 2019, sitting BJP MLA Goruk Pordung in Arunachal Pradesh was accused of rape by a pregnant doctor. The married lady was called to a hotel by Pordung under the pretence of discussing issues related to the primary health centre, where she was allegedly raped.”

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