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Time for vote-bank politics

The reported gang rape of a 24-year-old woman in Chaukhandi village near Noida may shock most people, but for politicians it is a good opportunity to grab the center-stage and consolidate their vote bank, reports Kapil Datta.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2009 23:57 IST
Kapil Datta

The reported gang rape of a 24-year-old woman in Chaukhandi village near Noida may shock most people, but for politicians it is a good opportunity to grab the center-stage and consolidate their vote bank.

The Samajwadi Party had declared a bandh on Friday, ostensibly against the deteriorating law and order situation and for “implicating innocent villagers in the rape case”. The bandh call did not find many takers. Markets and malls functioned as usual.

But SP leader Amar Singh arrived in Noida as scheduled with his supporters. Singh, however, was not allowed to proceed beyond the DND flyway and was detained till evening.

Speaking at the DND Flyway, Singh said: “I have come to protest against the deteriorating law and order in Uttar Pradesh.... Villagers say innocent persons are being implicated in false rape cases.”

Asked if he was defending the rape accused, Singh said: “I am not defending anyone. I am not saying that they are innocent. But innocent people should not be implicated in crimes.” He was quick to add that he had “full sympathy with the gang rape victim”. “It is shameful that women are not safe under a woman chief minister,” said Singh, taking a potshot at UP Chief Minister Mayawati.

Singh also said their demand for a judicial inquiry should be accepted.

The women’s wing of the Congress too held a protest in the afternoon and handed over a memorandum to the City Magistrate over rising crime against women.

Noida SSP Naveen Arora said the issue of gang rape on which the SP had called the bandh was baseless. “We have already arrested seven of the accused and declared a reward of Rs 2,500 on the arrest of the remaining four accused. The accused were arrested after being identified by the victim,” said Arora.