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Another Litmus test for Fadnavis

Three months after Kopardi rape incident, another alleged rape of a minor girl in Nashik put the government on the backfoot.

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The alleged rape of a 5 year old girl by a 16 year old Dalit boy has created further troubles for the Fadnavis government. Opposition parties like Congress and NCP have asked the government to order for a probe and hearing to be held in fast track court. The government which already is finding itself on the backfoot for its inept handling of the Kopardi rape case faces another litmus test in the aftermath of the Nashik rape incident. Fadnavis government has been facing intense pressure from opposition parties to grant reservation to the Maratha community. The morcha held by Marathas in various regions of the state has put the government in a state of bother.

Leader of opposition in the legislative assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has condemned the rape incident and said, “This case must be heard in the fast track court and strict action must be taken against the accused. I have already taken note of the protests held by local residents after the occurrence of the rape incident and the local Congress leaders have briefed me about it. I have urged the police to conduct a thorough probe of the rape incident. I will also meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and urge the government to file a chargesheet within 15 days.”

After the rape incident angry villagers protested and blocked vehicles on the Mumbai-Agra highway. Angry villagers torched three vehicles on the highway and demanded strict action to be taken against the accused. Police had to resort to lathicharge and later two rounds of bullets were fired in the air. A state transport bus was vandalised by protestors near Ozar. IGP Nashik rainge Nilaykumar Choubey’s vehicle was damaged by protestors.

The boy has been taken into custody. He’s been booked under IPC 376 (rape) and relevant sections of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.

“The 16-year-old boy allegedly raped the girl at an isolated place at Talegaon village under Trimbakeshwar taluka in the district,” Trimbakeshwar police station in-charge Mukund Deshmukh said.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The accused has been arrested. The government has ordered for probe and a charge sheet to be filed at the earliest. The case will be heard in a fast track court.”

NCP president Sharad Pawar said, “People should not pay attention to rumours and they should maintain peace.”

Guardian Minister Girish Mahajan had gone to Civil Hospital, where the minor victim is undergoing treatment. He interacted with the protestors. Mahajan tried to pacify the protestors by saying that rape didn’t occur and it was an attempt to rape which further irked them.

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