Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Bangalore: Days after he was caught napping in the state assembly during a debate, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday courted a fresh controversy over the alleged rape of a six-year-old girl in a popular city public school when he asked the media if it did not have any other issue to cover.
"Except that, don`t you have any other issue? Is this the only news you have? RPT Is this the only news you have?" Siddaramaiah snapped back at reporters who sought to know the latest on the case that has evoked public outrage and drawn criticism of his government for not acting swiftly.
While the BJP led opposition has demanded strict action in this case, the National Commission for Women has strongly condemned the Chief Minister for making such insensitive remark on the issue.
Shamina Shafiq of NCW said, “The Karnataka CM must take positive steps towards improvement of society rather than making insensitive statements.”
Criticising Siddaramaiah, social activist Ranjana Kumari said, “By trivializing such a serious issue, Karnataka CM is committing a huge mistake.”
The girl was allegedly raped on July 2 at high-profile Vibgyor High School here, while the complaint was lodged with the police on July 14.
Amid growing public anger against the police, the first arrest came on July 20 - of skating instructor Mustafa, who hails from Bihar.
On Friday last, Siddaramaiah found himself in an embarrassing spot as video footage on TV channels showed him apparently dozing off during a debate on sexual offences against women in the Assembly.
Siddaramaiah was seen in the video grab tilting his head in the front with eyes closed as the House was immersed in a debate with the opposition BJP going hammer and tongs against the government over a spate of recent sexual offence cases and gunning for the resignation of Home Minister K J George.
The video shot was aired by TV channels but the Chief Minister had said he was not napping and was "very much attentive" listening to the debate.
Siddaramaiah`s government has come under attack from the opposition parties over the Vibgyor school incident and alleged rape of a 22-year-old woman in a car and of a 16-year- old nun at a seminary in recent days.
Asked about invoking the Goonda Act in sexual offence cases, he said, "Wherever the Goonda Act is to be invoked, it will be invoked."
About BJP going on protest against government`s "failure" to check the increasing number of rape cases in the state, Siddaramaiah said, "The main opposition party is politicising the issue."
With PTI input