Published On: Sun, Jan 6th, 2019

Odisha minister resigns day after PM Modi targeted state govt. on women safety

Bhubaneshwar: Odisha’s Agriculture Minister Pradeep Mahanty resigned on Sunday amid controversy triggered by his reported comments in favour of a rape accused.

Odisha’s Agriculture Minister Pradeep Mahanty resigned today after amid controversy triggered by his reported comments in favour of a rape accused.

He quit a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi castigated the BJD government of Odisha over the minister’s reported support to the rape accused.

Maharathy had reportedly made comments in the favor of the suspects who were acquitted from the court in the Pipli gang rape and murder case.

Maharathy who represent Pipili assembly constituency had said, “My sympathies are with the victim but I honour the court decision, I had said that truth will prevail.”

Protesting against the state government, both BJP and Congress were demanding his resignation.

This is the second time where Maharathy had to resign as cabinet minister in the same case, earlier he had to step down in 2012 after allegations to have sheltered the accused.

“I have always been an honest party member of BJD. I deeply respect BJD head and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and all other party members. They should not be blamed because of me. There was no pressure on me to quit. I did this on my own,” said Maharathy while addressing media after his resignation.

Pipli gang rape and murder case had shocked the state after a 19-year-old Dalit girl was raped in 2011, who later died after being in coma for a year.

Following Maharathy’s exit from the post, Pipli gang rape victim’s family reiterated their demand for justice.
“We have nothing to do with the resignation. I demand justice for my sister. Till the accused are punished for their crime, my sister’s soul won’t rest in peace. I want to see accused behind the bar,” victim’s brother told ANI.

Echoing similar sentiment, the girl’s mother also demanded death sentence for the accused and said, “I demand justice. The accused must be hanged till death. Only after the people who had killed and raped my daughter are hanged, I will get peace. My only demand with this government is to give death punishment to accused who murdered my daughter.”

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Modi had targeted the state government on the issue while addressing a public rally in the state and said, “The state government could not provide justice to a girl in an incident that took place 7-8 years ago in the Puri district. It is obvious for girls and women to be angry over carelessness in the investigation which led to denial of justice to the victim.”

Prime Minister Modi also urged the state government to re-investigate the incident.

ANI

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