The Legislative Assembly on Friday witnessed acrimonious scenes and bouts of slogan-shouting by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (Secular) over alleged increase in the number of sexual assault cases in the State and the government’s “failure” to ensure safety of women.
Members of the BJP and JD(S), who sought to move an adjournment motion to discuss the issue related to crimes against women, began shouting slogans and demanded the resignation of Home Minister K.J. George when their plea was turned down. BJP members, who wore black scarves, urged the Speaker to take up the issue immediately, citing the rise in sexual assault cases across the State in the last one week. Even as the Speaker told members that they would be allowed to raise the issue after the government’s reply on the Education Department’s demands, Opposition members trooped into the well. Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa’s urging to maintain order went in vain, and he adjourned the House for 30 minutes.
After a meeting at his chamber, the Speaker allowed the Opposition to make a preliminary submission on the issue. Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri (BJP) said the law and order had collapsed in the State and demanded Mr. George’s resignation. He said 10 cases of rape have been reported during the last one week in Bangalore, Kolar, Raibag, Sindagi, Malur and Gulbarga. S. Suresh Kumar (BJP) said a six-year-old student in a private school in Bangalore was sexually assaulted. A sexual harassment incident had occurred at a nunnery in the city.
CM’s reply In his reply, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said police inspector Mohammad Rafiq of Pulakeshinagar police station had been arrested for the alleged delay in filing an FIR with regard to the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Fraser Town in Bangalore. “It is the first time that an FIR has been registered against a Station Officer.”
He said the government would take stringent action against all those involved in sexual assault cases. Dissatisfied with the reply, BJP members staged a walkout. Holding placards, they staged a dharna in front of the statue of Kengal Hanumanthaiya.
The issue was also discussed in the Upper House resulting in a heated debate between the Opposition and Congress. The BJP and JD(S) members urged Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy to take up the adjournment motion on the issue. BJP members demanded Mr. George’s resignation and alleged the government was “anti-women”. When members of Congress and Opposition began accusing each other, Mr. Shankaramurthy adjourned the House for the day.
BJP’s protest Persisting with its demand for Mr. George’s resignation, the BJP has decided to hold a protest at all the district centres on Monday. The BJP accused Mr. George of failing to prevent crimes against women.