Araga Jnanendra questioned the time of victim’s visit to the secluded place and cracked a ‘joke’ too
A day after the gang rape of a college student and attack on her friend near Chamundi foothills shocked Mysuru, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra caused outrage with a series of insensitive statements, which he was compelled to retract after a reprimand by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
Mr. Jnanendra, speaking to press persons on Thursday morning had questioned the timing of the victim’s visit to the site of the alleged crime. Responding to a query, he said: “They [victims] went to a desolate spot, at 7.30 p.m. They should not have gone there at that time. But, we cannot stop anyone from going anywhere…”
Later in the day, accusing the Congress of “politicising” the incident, Mr. Jnanendra said in Bengaluru: “Rape has occurred there [Mysuru]. But Congress is trying to rape the Home Minister here.” When asked to explain his statement, he told mediapersons that he meant it as a “joke”, and did not intend to hurt anyone.
The Congress strongly condemned the remarks of Mr. Jnanendra. “Not just him but his entire party should answer for such irresponsible statements,” said KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar. He said the police ought to “book cases against Congressmen who were attempting to rape the Home Minister”.
However, the Chief Minister, who was in Delhi, took note of the gaffe and stated categorically that he did not endorse the Home Minister’s statements. Speaking to mediapersons, Mr. Bommai said that he had asked the Home Minister to clarify. “I have also asked senior officials probing the case to report to me directly,” he said.
‘Out of concern’
Minutes later Mr. Jnanendra expressed regret over his comments and said he was retracting his statements. “It was out of concern that I made that statement about the victim. She is like my daughter and will ensure she gets justice,” he said.
A group of men allegedly raped a student after assaulting her male friend near Chamundi foothills on August 24 night. The alleged incident occurred around 7.30 p.m. in the wooded area near the helipad, in Alanahalli police station limits.
The student and her friend were admitted to a private hospital around 1.30 a.m. on August 25. Both of them are out of danger. An FIR has been filed at Alanahalli police station. No arrests have been made so far.
Mysuru has seen a series of protests by various groups demanding that the culprits be brought to book immediately.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Commission for Women has sought a report from the Mysuru police on the incident. It has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the case and sought to know the steps taken by the police in arresting the culprits.
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