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ANDHINAGAR: The gang-rape of a 15-year-old Koli girl after she was kidnapped on December 17 at Khambala village near Barwala town, 125 km from Ahmedabad, snowballed into a major controversy on Tuesday.

 

Two ministers of state, Purshottam Solanki and Karsanbhai Patel, both OBCs, supported by two other BJP MLAs, Bhagwanbhai Kargatia and Hiralal Solanki, and 150 Koli community leaders rushed into minister of state for home Gordhanbhai Zadaphia’s office in protest against “police indifference” in the case.

 

Talking with TNN here on Tuesday, Solanki, who is known to be a major Koli vote-catcher for the BJP, said: “I don’t care for the party or the government. I fail to understand how those who are involved in kidnapping and rape can be freed on bail. I will launch a movement against the way the police has handled the whole incident.” While on Tuesday, as many as 500 people gathered at Solanki’s residence in Gandhinagar, he claimed in Botad he addressed a rally of 5,000 Kolis on the issue.

 

“The girl belonging to a landless family was kidnapped from a field by powerful elements of Khambala village,” Solanki said. “She was kept in captivity for 15 days. Despite the fact that four persons were arrested, they were set free even before they could be produced before the court. I fail to understand how police inspector Zala, investigating the matter, is treating a poor family like this.”

 

“The girl was taken to the Botad Civil Hospital, the nearest to Barwala, where I met her. She told me what had happened. Her condition is pitiable. The doctors confirmed she was raped. She even identified the victims before the police, yet they did not act.

 

“Now, Zadaphia says he will inquire into the whole incident. The answer is unacceptable. I will not tolerate this. What is there to inquire when the whole case is crystal clear,” he asked, threatening a full-scale campaign against the government if he is not heard.

 

“I will take the matter to the chief minister on Wednesday. I’m not going to sit quiet. I’ll wait for an action for three days before starting a campaign. It is not a question of a girl belonging to my community being attacked. It is a question of justice, whichever community one belongs to,” Solanki added.

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