Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who was supposed to visit the family of the 19-year-old gangrape survivor in Rajasthan's Alwar on Wednesday had to postpone his visit as his chopper couldn't land in the area due to bad weather. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande and deputy chief minister and PCC president Sachin Pilot were to accompany Rahul. The visit is now likely to take place on Thursday, News18 reported.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 15, 2019
The 26 April incident had provoked anger and protests across the state drawn attacks on the Congress government by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as BSP chief Mayawati.
The survivor, a Dalit, was riding with her husband on a motorcycle on the Thanagazi-Alwar bypass when a group of six men on bikes stopped them and dragged the couple to a field. The attackers then tied the man and thrashed him before raping the woman.
The survivor's family had accused the police of delaying action because of the election, which had led to allegations that the Congress was trying to cover up the case to avoid a backlash in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. The survivor's husband said that the police were informed of the incident on 30 April, but the FIR was filed only on 2 May citing election duty.
On 12 May, launching an attack on Mayawati, Modi had asked the BSP supremo why she hasn't withdrawn her support to the Congress government in light of a heinous crime against a woman from the Schedule Caste community. Modi also accused the Rajasthan government of suppressing the case until the fifth phase of voting in the general election was over on 6 May.
"Today the daughters of Uttar Pradesh are asking Behen-ji (Mayawati) that the government in Rajasthan is running with your support and there, a Dalit girl got raped. So Behen-ji, why have you not withdrawn your support?" the prime minister questioned the Dalit leader.
Modi also reminded Mayawati of the 1995 incident when Samajwadi Party goons had allegedly attacked her.
"When the guest house incident happened, the entire country was pained. But why is she not feeling pained? If you (Mayawati) are honest about the dignity of daughters, then you should immediately write a letter to the Rajasthan governor withdrawing support from the (Ashok) Gehlot government," the prime minister said.
Addressing an election rally earlier this week, Modi had said: “Because there were elections in Rajasthan, the Congress government did not want news of the incident to come out. They wanted to save the criminals, wanted to collect votes… the Congress feared that if the incident of rape of a Dalit daughter comes out then it will have an impact on its votes…”
Mayawati, whose two lawmakers in Rajasthan are supporting the Gehlot-led government too had leveled the same charge at Congress and threatened to withdraw support, but the move was met with allegations of "crocodile tears" from Modi.
Mayawati even issued a statement saying she didn’t expect justice to be done to the Alwar victim by the Congress government and that the Supreme Court should take suo motu cognisance of the matter.
However, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Kirodi Lal Meena held protests demanding a CBI probe into the case. On Tuesday, his supporters scuffled with the police while trying to a block railway track in Dausa. Meena was later detained for allegedly leading the rioters, Hindustan Times reported. Protests were also organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members and a BJP delegation, led by Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has removed Alwar police chief Rajiv Pachar and suspended another officer, Sardar Singh, who was in charge of the police station where the survivor had approached. Four more policemen were also taken off duty.
The police said that they have arrested all the six accused, including the man who filmed the crime and threatened the survivor he would share the clip on social media if she went to the police.
Gehlot said he was personally monitoring the investigation and the Jaipur divisional commissioner and the DIG of vigilance had been asked to probe the alleged police lapses separately. On Monday, the chief minister, however, hit out at Modi for politicising the case and insisted that his government has done all that it could and will not spare the culprits.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally targeted me on various occasions. Be it in an election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan," Gehlot said, adding "When I was in charge of Gujarat, he misled and provoked farmers there against me. He had no moral right to come to Rajasthan and campaign." The chief minister said that several cases of rape happened during the previous BJP governments in the state. "A BJP MLA was involved in a rape case in Uttar Pradesh, but Modi never talked about them."
Your guide to the latest seat tally, live updates, analysis and list of winners for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 542 constituencies on counting day of the general elections.
Updated Date: May 15, 2019 12:47:32 IST