Bhubaneswar, Jan 3 (LocalWire) Odisha Pradesh Mahila Congress activists on Thursday clashed with police as they attempted to gherao chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s official residence – Naveen Niwas – to seek resignation of agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy in the Pipili gang rape and murder case.
The activists were marching towards Naveen Niwas when the police stopped them near Sishu Bhawan in Bhubaneswar that led to a scuffle.
Many activists were later taken into preventive custody, said police.
Earlier in December, as many as 40 women activists of Odisha Congress were taken on preventive arrest while trying to barge into Maharathy’s residence here, condemning his irresponsible statement on the sensational Pipili gang rape verdict.
Amid criticisms and demand for his resignation growing stronger, Maharathy had already apologized for his remark on Pipili rape case.
“I am sorry if my statement hurt anybody. It was not intentional. I am a very open-minded person,” Maharathy told reporters.
The Bhubaneswar Additional District Judge Court had acquitted prime accused Prashant Pradhan and his brother Sukant Pradhan on December 24 due to lack of evidence in a 2011 sensational gang-rape case.
A 19-year-old girl of Arjungoda village at Pipili in Puri district had reportedly slipped into coma after allegedly being gang-raped.
Commenting on the judgement, Maharathy had hailed the court’s verdict and said truth has finally prevailed.
” “I welcome the verdict. It is victory of the truth. The victim finally got the justice,” he had reportedly said.
This statement triggered criticism from all quarters, including political rivals Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“How did the victim get justice when the accused were acquitted?” asked Odisha Mahila Congress president Sumitra Jena.