Terming the disclosure of names of rape victims as atrocious, BJP today asked Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to apologise and dismiss ST and SC Development Minister Lalbehari Himirika for it.
Himirika, while replying to a written question of BJP MLA Dilip Ray yesterday had disclosed in the Assembly the names of five minor rape survivors who were allegedly tortured in different state-run residential schools.
"The minister has clearly violated the provision under section 228(A) of IPC by revealing the names of the rape victims. Therefore, the chief minister as head of the government should apologise for the offence committed by Himirika," BJP state spokesman Sajan Sharma told reporters here.
Claiming that the chief minister should take the responsibility and apologise to the five rape victims, Sharma said "Patnaik cannot escape from the responsibility."
BJP women wing president Simantini Jena demanded immediate dismissal of the minister.
"It is the responsibility of the government and all of us to be sympathetic towards the rape victims. How can a minister behave in so irresponsible manner," she said.
Himirika, however, said the information he gave was inside the Assembly and not before the media in the form of a written answer.
"Therefore, I have not done anything knowingly," the minister said, adding that he had no intention to embarrass anyone.
Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said whatever Himirika has said were inside the House. Therefore, he is not liable to punishment as per the provision of the section 228(A) of the IPC.
Ruling BJD spokesman and senior MLA Amar Prasad Satpathy termed it as a ‘deviation’. "This should not have happened at all. There is no point in making this an issue."
Himirika, a prominent tribal leader from Rayagada, revealed the identities when the question was posed on the number of sexual harassment cases and other atrocities on girls in residential schools run by the department.
Besides names of the rape victims, the annexure supplied by the minister also mentioned names of girls who were subjected to abuse in filthy languages, engaged in cooking and some subjected to both physical and mental harassment in the residential schools.
The minister also admitted that at least five minor schools girls, who were inmates of hostels, became pregnant during the last three years.