Lucknow/Bulandshahr, Aug 2 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Minister and senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Tuesday triggered a political storm alleging a “political conspiracy” in the gang-rape of a woman and daughter near Bulandshahr with the BJP demanding a CBI probe into the crime that has shocked the nation.
The state’s Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister said in Rampur on Monday night that the investigative agencies should explore the possibility of some opposition party being involved in the gang-rape on Friday night.
“To get power, politicians can get down to any level, they can murder people, trigger riots, kill innocent people. So the truth has to be found out,” said Azam Khan, known for his foot-in-mouth comments.
He, however, clarified later that he didn’t mean to say the Bulandshahr incident was an “opposition conspiracy”.
“I just said that the Uttar Pradesh polls are nearing and the fact that so many such incidents are happening needs to be investigated,” he said.
But Azam Khan’s comments riled the opposition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slamming the minister’s “shameful” and “outrageous” remarks.
“If you cannot bring succour to the victims, one should not add insult to injury,” Uttar Pradesh BJP unit General Secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.
He demanded that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav must apologise for the conduct and statement of his ministerial colleague.
Elections to the legislative assembly are due next year in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh where the BJP has been out of power in the state since 2002.
BJP’s state president Keshav Maurya said he met the victims and their family in Noida. “I have assured the family that we will take up their fight till justice is done and the guilty are brought to book,” he said.
Maurya said Azam Khan’s comments showed the insensitivity of the state government over the issue.
Congress’ Renuka Chowdhury also slammed Azam Khan for his “insensitive” remarks.
Despite the arrest of three suspects, the Uttar Pradesh Police was yet to make a headway in the sensational crime in which a gang of eight armed robbers waylaid the family travelling in a car on the Delhi-Kanpur highway early Saturday morning. They were driving to a funeral in Bulandshahr, some 65 km from Delhi.
The robbers allegedly dragged the members to a nearby sugarcane field and raped the teenager and her 38-year-old mother.
Questions were raised by locals as to whether those arrested were in fact involved in the gory crime.
Bulandshahr MP Bhola Singh said the police arrested three persons in haste to fulfil the assurance of the Chief Minister. Innocent people were being harassed by the police, he alleged, adding that the real culprits were being spared under political pressure.
The three suspects were, meanwhile, presented before a local court that sent them to 14 days in judicial custody in Bulandshahr jail.
“We are looking for other culprits whose role in the crime has been revealed during investigation,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Laxmi Singh said.