Renuka intervention in Mumbai molestation sparks row


New Delhi : A central minister’s attempt to send a serious message in the backdrop of rising cases of molestation reported from across the country appears to have sparked a fresh political controversy between the central government and Maharashtra.

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Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury called a meeting of legal experts here Tuesday to review the progress in the case of two non-resident Indian (NRI) women who were molested by a mob on the Juhu beach in Mumbai on the New Year’s eve.

According to Chowdhury, she wanted to set the “right example”.

“The right example should be set to discourage wrong,” she told Times Now television channel.

However, Chowdhury’s concern over the increasing number of molestation and rape cases being reported from different parts of the country did not go down well with the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra’s opposition party.

For Shiv Sena activists, who claim to believe in Maratha pride, it was an “interference” from the central government in the state affairs.

Incidentally, Maharashtra is ruled by a Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition.

Chowdhury’s move to convene the meeting of the legal experts has come after reports that the Maharashtra government made some attempts to hush up the case and drop charges against the accused.

The Mumbai police have arrested 14 youths for allegedly molesting the two NRI women.

The girls, who hail from Gujarat and are settled in the US, were accompanied by two men and were molested and groped by a crowd of over 70 men on exiting from a five-star hotel in suburban Juhu after a dance performance.

In a front-page article, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Samna defended the men suspected to have molested the two women, and said they were actually trying to save the women, not harass them. It also blamed the “outsiders” for the crime and said they had done it to tarnish the city’s image.