Special Correspondent

Speaker flays Govt. over tardy progress in cases

JAIPUR: Opposition Congress members staged a walkout in the Rajasthan Assembly on Monday while accusing the State Government of failure to take stringent action against those involved in female foeticide despite strong evidence gathered against them by a television news channel in a series of sting operations.

The House witnessed noisy scenes on the issue during question hour even as Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria and Medical and Health Minister Digambar Singh made an unsuccessful attempt to defend the Government and affirmed that investigations in the criminal cases registered this year were in progress.

Congress MLA Chandrashekhar Baid and Pramod Jain (Independent), who raised the question, accused the BJP-led Government of laxity in the probe and pointed out that the doctors accused of misusing ultrasound machines for foetal sex determination tests were still continuing their medical practice.

Both Mr. Kataria and Dr. Singh faced embarrassing moments when the Speaker, Sumitra Singh, pulled up the Government for making very little progress even four months after the cases were registered under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Tests Act. Mr. Kataria admitted that the probe had made little headway with the statements of witnesses yet to be recorded.

Congress members, led by Leader of Opposition Ramnarain Chaudhary, created a din in the House holding the Government responsible for the high rate of murder of girl child in the womb, depicted by the recovery of aborted foetuses at several places, and warned that the sex ratio in the State would show serious imbalances in the near future.

The Home Minister's remarks that FIRs had been registered in 18 cases and strict action would be taken against the guilty failed to convince the Congress MLAs, who staged a walkout at the end of question hour which was extended by ten minutes. Mr. Kataria said the TV channel had not given the unedited copy of compact disk containing shots of sting operations.