Political temperature in BJP-ruled Gujarat is set to rise over the alleged gang rape of a woman in Naliya town of Kutch district, with the opposition Congress deciding to step up its protest to corner the saffron party whose four local leaders are named as accused by police.
In a bid to highlight the “plight of the victim”, the Congress will organise a vehicle yatra from Naliya on February 18.
The rally will culminate at Gandhinagar on February 20, the first day of the Budget session of the assembly, to be addressed by governor OP Kohli.
The Congress will also lay siege to the assembly building on February 20, said state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, while demanding a probe into the incident by a sitting high court judge.
Addressing reporters in Ahmedabad, he termed the 2016 gang rape incident an “organised crime”.
“Just like an organised crime network, the woman was gang-raped by several persons over a period of one year. To highlight the plight of the victim, we will take out the yatra from Naliya,” he said.
Apart from Solanki, leader of opposition Shankersinh Vaghela and Shaktisinh Gohil will also join the yatra.
“When the budget session commences on February 20, we will gherao the assembly building. We want the government to transfer the inquiry (into the rape case) to a sitting high court judge, as we have learnt the victim has been pressurised by some elements to withdraw her FIR,” Solanki alleged.
He said a Congress delegation would call upon governor Kohli on Friday, seeking his intervention for appropriate action.
Vaghela said, “(However), in absence of any assurance, we will tell the governor that Congress MLAs will not let him address the House on February 20.”
Meanwhile, the opposition leader announced he was ready to hand over the CDs, which he claimed to contain videos of at least 12 persons involved in the gang rape, to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel.
Vaghela had earlier claimed he was in possession of the electronic evidence against the 12 accused in the form of CDs.
Responding to Patel’s statement in which he had dared the Congress leader to make the videos public, Vaghela said, “If Patel wants, I am ready to hand over these CDs to him. But, he must not leak these videos, as I do not believe in character assassination.”
In her FIR, the 24-year-old married woman claimed she was raped by at least nine persons on different occasions last year.
She claimed the accused were running a sex racket in Kutch district and had blackmailed many women by shooting their obscene videos.
Kutch police had arrested eight persons in connection with the Naliya incident. The accused included four local BJP leaders, who were subsequently suspended from the party.