Wednesday, June 22, 2011

[ZESTCaste] India state leader cries foul over rape outrage

India state leader cries foul over rape outrage

(AFP) – 19 hours ago

LUCKNOW, India — One of India's most prominent state leaders said on
Tuesday she was the victim of a "political conspiracy" as pressure
grew for her to act over a recent series of horrific rapes.

"There have been attempts to tarnish my image citing these crimes,"
Mayawati, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, told reporters in the
state capital Lucknow.

"It is a political conspiracy to malign me."

Mayawati, who prides herself as a champion of the low-caste dalit
community to which she belongs, vowed tough action in the wake of
eight particularly violent rapes in Uttar Pradesh the past two days
that attracted national media attention.

One victim was gang-raped and burned alive, while another had her eyes
gouged out after resisting her attackers.

A Times of India report suggested that six of the eight incidents had
been hushed up by state police.

"We are treating the issue as a top-most priority," Mayawati said.

"I have called a meeting of all police officers. I will chair the
meeting myself and officials shielding culprits will be dealt with in
a harsh manner," she added.

Mayawati, who heads her own regional party, has recently been
embroiled in a series of heated rows with the ruling Congress party
which insists she has lost the "moral authority" to rule India's most
populous state.

Senior Congress leader and scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty
Rahul Gandhi has been especially vocal, accusing Mayawati of ignoring
the plight of the state's poor farmers and the dalits who voted her
into power.


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