Oppn wears black badges, demands discussion on minor gangrape

Mumbai, Jul 19: The gangrape and murder of a 15-year-old girl at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district figured in the Maharashtra Assembly for the second day today as the opposition members wore black badges to condemn the crime.

The girl was brutally raped and killed by three men at Kopardi in Ahmednagar last week. As soon as the second day's proceedings of the monsoon session began today, the opposition Congress and NCP legislators, wearing black badges, sought a discussion on the rape, setting aside all other business of the House.

Maha rape: Oppn demands discussion

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also said a debate should be held immediately, ignoring "technical issues".

Former speaker Dilip Walse Patil claimed that the incident has instilled so much fear that girls have stopped attending school.

A Congress leader said outside the Vidhan Bhawan building that opposition may bring a no-trust motion against Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, if he does not allow discussion on the Kopardi gangrape in the House.

Police have been stationed in Kopardi to ease tension, after furious locals held a road blockade and other protests to demand the arrest of the rapists.

The incident took place on July 13, when the teenage girl was returning after meeting her grandfather. She was allegedly accosted by three men, who gangraped her before strangling her. The victim, a student of class IX, had reportedly been mutilated, and local accounts suggest she was found with her hair pulled out, and hands and teeth broken.

She was found with both shoulders dislocated, police said. The crime sparked protests across the state, with people taking to the streets demanding action against the accused, while the Congress demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister on moral grounds. Police said all three of the accused were arrested by the local crime branch after the incident on July 13.

Fadnavis informed the House yesterday that the accused have been booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

He had also said that noted lawyer Ujjwal Nikam has been appointed as the public prosecutor in the case and the government has given Rs five lakh solatium to the victim's family.


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