The suicide by Kunduli’s gang rape survivor has opened up a can of worms for the seemingly invincible BJD. The party’s crisis management skills are now in question and how an embarrassed BJD takes on both the Opposition backlash and public outrage remains to be seen.
Has the case exposed the chinks in BJD’s armoury? Initial reactions suggest the party’s internal defence is vulnerable. While it would be premature to judge the impact of the case on the party’s electoral success, the immediate takeaways appear disturbing. Forget the ruckus by Opposition Congress and BJD, in this hour of unforeseen crisis, the BJD looks a divided house. Senior party leaders have already trained guns on the inefficient police apparatus for botching up the case and doing precious little in the garb of investigation.
The first jolt expectedly came from the party’s Dhenkanal MP and editor of Odia daily Dharitri, Tathagata Satpathy. In his opinion piece, Satpathy came down heavily on the police administration under the home department for trying to hush up the matter. He also squarely blamed the police for not pursuing investigation of the case seriously and trying to suppress it. “Right from the officials at police station-level to the higher ups, all had remained mute in a bid to cover up the incident,” he wrote. Satpathy went on to say that January 22, the day when the rape survivor committed suicide will go down as the Black Day for the Odisha Police. “Rather than giving her justice, police had attempted to insult and weaken the survivor mentally by dubbing her as liar instead. Even the investigation by Crime Branch and a judicial inquiry bore no fruit”, he pointed out.
Echoing his party comrade’s sentiments, the expelled minister Damodar Rout said without mincing words that even his father would admit that it was a case of rape. The chain of incidents culminating with the suicide of the victim only goes on to expose the inefficiency in police administration, he asserted.
Opposition parties have upped the ante on the BJD led government. While Congress has called for a dawn to dusk bandh, BJP has opted for a hartal on Wednesday– the move is likely to bring the state to a standstill.
Terming the day of Kunduli gang rape survivor’s suicide as a ‘black day’ for Odisha, the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan stated that Odisha government failed to provide justice to the survivor.
Harichandan alleged that the survivor committed suicide as she was mentally tortured by police and other higher officials including the team of doctors and unfortunately the Crime Branch and HRPC had also ruled out rape.
BJP leader Biswa Bhushan Harichandan said his party will continue the agitation till the Kunduli gang rape victim gets justice.
BJP has condemned police action on its party workers during a demonstration near Sishu Bhawan Chhak that was organised on Tuesday to protest the tragic death of the Kunduli gang rape survivor.