Tripura Animal Resource Development Minister Bhagaban Das, whose son was allegedly involved in the gang rape of a minor girl on October 19, has on Wednesday claimed that his family was deliberately targeted for belonging to the Scheduled Caste community. The Minister said he would welcome a high-level probe into the ‘condemnable rape incident’ though the police cleared the charges against his son.
The gang rape incident that occurred at Kumarghat in Unakoti district snowballed into a major political issue with Opposition parties demanding the resignation of the Minister who was inducted into the Council of Ministers just a year ago. The CPI(M), the Congress and other Opposition parties went on with their street protests to press demands for the arrest of the Minister’s son.
“All accused persons have been arrested. The girl in her statement under Section 164 did not take my son’s name. Investigation by a number of State agencies did not find truth in the allegations levelled by the Opposition parties”, Mr. Das, who was elected from Pabiachara Assembly constituency in 2018 elections, said.
“Nevertheless, I would welcome a high-level probe. My family is being framed for being Scheduled Caste”, he said.
The Minister claimed that the members of the SC community in the State were angered over the ‘sinister campaign’ against him and said ‘they would express this sentiment’ in the upcoming Assembly elections. He also charged the CPI(M) and Congress for being ‘anti-SC’ and claimed that the BJP-led Central and State governments were constantly working to develop the community through various welfare schemes.
When asked about the whereabouts of his ward, the Minister who also holds the SC Welfare and Labour portfolios claimed, that the son was staying at his official residence since October 10. His presence at Kumarghat on the night of the incident was a complete lie.