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Goa CM Faces Backlash After His Victim-Blaming Statement On Benaulim Gangrape Case

Benaulim Gangrape Case: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is facing flak from the opposition and the public in general for asking parents of rape victims in the Benaulim Gangrape Case – why minor girls were out late?

Here’s everything you need to know about the infamous Goa Gangrape Case.

  • On Sunday, July 25, four men, one of them a state government employee, posed as policemen and allegedly raped two minor girls after beating up the boys who accompanied them at an isolated spot on Benaulim beach, around 30 km south of Goa’s capital, Panaji.
  • The Colva Police, in a swift move on Monday, arrested all the four persons accused of raping the two minor girls. Those arrested have been identified as 33-year-old Rajesh Mane, 31-year-old Gajanand Chinchankar and 19-year-old Nitin Yabbal, all from Davorlim, and 21-year-old Asif Hateli of Housing Board from Margao.
  • The accused persons have been booked under Sections 419, 354 (A) 384, 323, 506 (II), 376 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 4, 7, 11(V) of POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) and 8 (2) of Goa Children’s Act and have been remanded in police custody for four days.
  • As per the police reports, a group of 10 kids including girls and boys had visited Goa’s Benaulim beach late at night on Saturday. However, two girls and three boys stayed back while the other five returned to their homes afterwards.
  • The horrendous incident reportedly took place in an isolated part of the Benaulim beach, behind a hotel. The four accused arrived in a van and pretending to be policemen, confronted the survivors at around 3 am.
  • They allegedly thrashed and physically assaulted the male mates of the girls. Following this, they allegedly sexually assaulted both the minor girls. Later, the accused men also demanded ransom by blackmailing the survivors of dire consequences failing which they threatened to make their video viral.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who also holds the home portfolio responsible for maintaining law and order in the coastal state, said in the assembly on Wednesday that parents have the responsibility to ensure the safety of their children and remarked that they should not let their children, particularly minors, out at night.

During a debate in the Goa State Assembly yesterday, Sawant stated, “When 14-year-olds stay on the beach the whole night, the parents need to introspect. Just because children don’t listen, we cannot put the responsibility on the government and police.”

“We directly blame police, but I want to point out that of the 10 youth who went to the beach for a party, four stayed on the beach the whole night and the remaining six went home. They were on the beach the whole night, two boys and two girls. Teens, particularly minors, should not be spending the nights on beaches,” he further added.

On Thursday, Goa Congress spokesperson Altone D’Costa remarked that the law and order situation in the state has deteriorated. “Why should we fear while moving around at night? Criminals should be in jail and law-abiding citizens should be out freely moving around,” he said.

In another statement, Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said that it is disgusting that the Chief Minister is making such statements and after arresting the accused, the guilty should be charged and punished in the court of law.

In a tweet, Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte said, “The safety of citizens is the responsibility of police and state government. If they can’t provide it to us, the CM has no right to sit in the post.”

“It is shocking that @goacm is blaming parents for allowing their children to venture out in the night claiming that it is not safe. If State govt can’t assure us our security, who can give it? Goa has a history of being safe state for women, that tag is being lost in @BJP4Goa rule,” he added.

During the discussion in the house on Wednesday, an MLA had alleged that an “influential person” is trying to protect the accused persons, while another opposition member had claimed that a minister was calling the police and trying to manipulate the investigation. However, Speaker Rajesh Patnekar expunged these remarks from the proceedings.

Although Sawant denied all these allegations of political interference in the investigation and reportedly admitted that one of the accused is a driver with the Agricultural Department.