Bhubaneswar, Dec 27 (PTI) Opposition Congress and BJP Thursday demanded the resignation of Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy for his comments on the acquittal of two persons arrested in connection with Pipili gang rape.
A Bhubaneswar court had on Monday acquitted two persons arrested in connection with the case.
Following it Maharathy, who represents Pipli in the assembly, had said “My sympathies are with the victim but I honour the court’s judgement. I had said that truth will prevail.”
Denouncing Maharathy’s comment, senior BJP leader and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said his statement indicated the “flawed policies” of the state government on women and scheduled castes.
Congress women activists on Thursday staged demonstration before the minister’s official residence here and hurled eggs and tomatoes at it, while the BJP Mahila Morcha demanded Maharathy’s exclusion from the ministry and handing over the case to CBI.
Police arrested about 40 activists of Odisha Pradesh Mahila Congress as a preventive measure as they had assembled before the minister’s house and attempted to barge into its premises, said Bhubaneswar assistant commissioner of police Sanjay Singh.
“We will continue agitation till the minister is expelled from the ministry,” Odisha Mahila Congress chief Sumitra Jena said.
Maharathy’s comment has hurt the sentiment of women, she said.
The BJP threatened to take to the streets if Maharathy is not removed from the state cabinet in next 24 hours.
A 19-year-old girl was found unconscious and semi- naked in a paddy field in Pipli on November 28, 2011. She succumbed on June 21, 2012 after remaining semi-comatose in SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
Maharathy had to resign from the ministry then in the face of a statewide hue and cry for allegedly sheltering the accused persons.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.