Bhubaneswar: Three alleged gang rapes have shaken the Naveen Patnaik government. While the suspect's photo in one of the cases has been released, the government is finding it hard to cope with public anger.
Heart-rending images of family members pleading for justice. In November, a 19-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped and strangulated at Pipili in Puri district, Odisha. She has since remained in a coma. Only after a state human rights commission and high court directive did the police finally register a case.
A rape victim's mother said, "I know the accused and have been telling the police to act, but no one listened. The accused had also threatened to kill my entire family if we raise our voice."
The accused are yet to be arrested but what's chilling about the case is that the victim was witness to a molestation charge against the same accused in 2008. Meanwhile, the Pipili police station has been placed under suspension and a judicial enquiry ordered. And the victim will now be airlifted to AIIMS Delhi for further treatment.
Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik said, "The chief minister has ordered a judicial enquiry and it will look into all angles and action will be taken on all found guilty."
But Odisha has been rocked by two other gang rapes this week. In Bhadrak, a 19-year-old college girl was allegedly gangraped and killed. And on Wednesday yet another 19-year-old was allegedly kidnapped and gang raped at Rajgangpur in Sundergarh district. Two people have been arrested in this case.
With the panchyat elections in the state just round the corner, the opposition is all set to make these gang rape incidents an election issue. But it needs more than just initiating a judicial enquiry from the Odisha chief minister to win back the confidence of the people.