Mumbai: Amid uproarious scenes in the Maharashtra assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday made a detailed statement on the gangrape and murder of a schoolgirl which evoked memories of the gruesome December 2012 Delhi gangrape case, and assured stringent action against those responsible.
While the government rejected an adjournment motion sought to be moved by Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, of the Congress, in the assembly, protests were held in several parts of Maharashtra condemning the incident which occurred on July 13 in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar district.
In his statement in the assembly, Fadnavis announced that Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam would lead the trial and assured stringent action against the accused persons.
He also announced an aid of Rs 5 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and another Rs 3 lakh under the Manodhairya Scheme, besides allocating the case to a fast track court.
Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane and others demanded a debate in the legislative council, while senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar sought a debate in the assembly. But the demands were rejected by the government, which said a discussion could be held on Tuesday.
“Compared to all such incidents, this case is very different and akin to the Nirbhaya case of Delhi. The manner in which the schoolgirl was gangraped and her body parts brutalised makes us shudder and shameful. Leave aside politics and give justice to her as if she was our daughter,” Pawar told Fadnavis.
Top opposition leaders squatted on the steps of the Vidhan Bhavan and shouted slogans against the government.
Congress leader Nitesh Rane later said that Fadnavis can have dinner with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray but has no time to visit the victim’s family.
Moving an adjournment motion in the Council, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde said there is outrage in the minds of the people over the incident, but the government does not appear serious enough to address it.
“The Chief Minister and guardian minister have no time. The Chief Minister is merely interested in protecting his colleagues and attempts are being to cover up the incident. Now young girls dread of going to their schools,” Munde said.
Supporting the motion, Narayan Rane attacked the state government for the law and order situation and alleged that the home department was in a total mess.
Earlier on Monday, Maharashtra State Commission for Women Chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar visited the victim’s family and offered all help to them.
Protests, road blocks, shutdowns, processions were held in Kopargaon, Ahmednagar, Beed, Osmanabad, Pune and other parts of the state to condemn the crime, in which at least two state transport buses were damaged in stone pelting.
On Sunday, the opposition parties launched their agitation when they boycotted Fadnavis’s customary assembly session-eve tea party.
Bhumata Brigade President Trupti Desai and other women’s groups on Sunday met the family and demanded resignation of the Chief Minister and Guardian Minister Ram Shinde for lapses leading to the crime.
On July 13 in Kopardi, the family of the 14-year-old schoolgirl found her badly-mutilated, blood-splattered body under a tree in a field.
She was gangraped by at least three persons, her teeth and arms were broken and she was strangulated.
The incident ignited a major political storm in Maharashtra with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government.
Superintendent of Police Saurabh Tripathi said three persons have been arrested and the investigations have been handed over to the Crime Branch.
Among those arrested are Jitendra alias Pappu B. Shinde, Nitin G. Bhailume and Santosh G. Bhaval. Police is on the lookout for at least two others who may be involved, Tripathi added.
The accused were presented before a local court and remanded in police custody for seven days each.
Activists of various parties and groups including Sambhaji Brigade, Maratha Seva Sangh and Jijao Brigade took out a procession to the collector’s office and demanded compenstation of Rs 25 lakh for the victim’s family.
The protesters raised slogans against Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar when he visited Kopardi village on Sunday and threw eggs at him.