Slamming comments made by BJP leaders who alleged “certain Ministers” were trying to shield the accused in the case involving the kidnap and filming of two medical students after forcing them to perform sexual acts,

Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader said politics should be kept out of incidents such as these.

Addressing presspersons, the Minister said: “Yes, I did call up the police. But it was not to protect the accused. I enquired about the incident, and on learning its gravity, asked the police to take stringent action against those accused.”

On December 18, two students — a boy from Kerala and a girl from Bihar — were returning in a private car to their hostel when they were kidnapped by men brandishing crude weapons.

The men, then, allegedly filmed them after forcing them to perform sexual acts. They threatened to make the video public if they did not give Rs. 3 lakh, and in the interim, the boy was kept hostage for two days.

Mr. Khader further rubbished allegations that one of the arrested was a Congress worker. “Being a former Chief Minister [referring to D.V. Sadananda Gowda who made the allegations], he should verify statements before making them,” said the Minister, who represent the Mangalore (Ullal) constituency.

When asked if the increasing incidents of sexual assaults and crimes with communal overtones — despite the change in government — pointed to a collapse in law and order, Mr. Khader said: “The role of the government is to take action immediately, and that is being done. Unlike the previous government, we do not defend or support the accused.”

The Minister said if there were any grievances or shortfalls in the police investigation, action would be taken against the police officer involved.

‘Don’t communalise it’

At a separate press conference the former Union Minister B. Janardhan Poojary urged politicians and organisations from communalising the medico kidnap case.

Mr. Poojary said the Deralakatte incident was a “stain in the image” of the district and the State and may deter students from abroad or other states from pursing their students in the area.

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