After outrage over rapes, Madhya Pradesh govt goes into damage control
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held a law-and-order meeting with top officials to chalk out a damage-control plan ahead of the assembly polls, due within five months.india Updated: Jul 11, 2018 23:01 IST
Stung by public outrage over a slew of rape incidents in the state, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held a law-and-order meeting with top officials on Tuesday night to chalk out a damage-control plan ahead of the assembly polls, due within five months.
A separate political plan has also been drawn to blunt attacks launched by the Congress on this issue, said sources privy to the minutes of the meeting.
The chief minister, who likes to be addressed as ‘mama (uncle)’ by children, decided to personally monitor rape cases every fortnight, said an officer who attended the meeting.
The officer, however, said that it was very difficult to curb rape of minors when such crimes were committed by someone known to the victim. But, he added, when the crime is committed by the strangers it gives an impression of lawlessness in the state.
This, he said, was particularly damaging for the chief minister who likes to project himself as an ‘uncle’ of the children.
There have been three instances of minors being raped by strangers in the last one month. The first incident was in Gwalior’s Kampoo on June 20. Then there was the Mandsaur rape case of June 26 and the rape of another minor in Satna on July 3.
All the three cases spurred public outrage across the state, with people taking out protest marches and candle light vigils.
While the victims in the Mandsaur and Satna cases survived, the offenders in the Gwalior case killed the minor after raping her.
In the meeting, Chouhan gave thrust on foolproof investigations, speedy trial and maximum punishment for the culprits, another officer who attended the meeting said.
ADG (Women Cell) Anvesh Mangalam said they are monitoring each case on a daily basis to ensure foolproof probe and the results are showing.
“The trial in the Gwalior-rape case has already started, and the charge sheet in the Mandsaur case was filed within 14 days on Tuesday. The investigation into the Satna case is also picking up pace. We are trying to ensure that the forensic studies and court formalities are also completed soon, so the fast track trial can also be wound up at the earliest. In all these cases we are asking for death penalty,” Mangalam said.
On the political front, party leaders and workers have been asked to counter the Congress ‘propaganda’ on the rape issue by highlighting that the government has already passed a bill aimed at awarding the death sentence to those found guilty of raping minors below 12 years, and that in the last one year nine rapists have been given death sentences by lower courts.
“We are countering the false Congress propaganda on rape. Rapes happened during the Congress rule also. Now swift and decisive action is being taken and we are telling this to the people,” said BJP spokeperson Deepak Vijayvargiya.
The Opposition Congress is not buying the ruling party’s argument. Both state Congress president Kamal Nath and party campaign committee head Jyotiraditya Scindia have reiterated that instances of rape are increasing because “criminals no longer fear the law” in Madhya Pradesh.
According to the state women’s cell records, 1,894 rapes and 4,069 molestation cases were registered in the first five months of 2018. This translates to an average of 13 rapes and 27 instances of molestation every day.
First Published: Jul 11, 2018 23:01 IST