Goa MP suggests Russian rape victim asked for it

Goa MP suggests Russian rape victim asked for it
Panaji, Goa:  A Congress MP from Goa has caused a storm in Parliament by suggesting that women who are raped by men they socialize with are at least partly responsible for what happens to them.

The MP was referring to the controversial case of a Russian woman working in Goa who claims she was raped earlier this month by a South Goa politician in his car after having dinner with him.

Shantaram Naik said while rape is a  heinous crime, "...an alleged rape of a lady who moves with strangers for days together even beyond middle of the night is to be treated on different footings."

Naik's comments evoked strong protests by opposition members particularly Brinda Karat (CPM), Najma Heptulla, Maya Singh (BJP)and Jaya Bachchan (SP).

They sought intervention of the Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan saying Naik should not be allowed to speak the language which, they said, was derogatory to women.

The Russian who was allegedly raped was working at a five-star hotel in Goa. She says that on the first of December, a friend and she had dinner with  South Goa politician, John Fernandes, who allegedly spiked her drink and then raped her in his  car.

The police claimed it couldn't find Fernandes and therefore couldn't arrest him; NDTV, however, had no trouble tracking down the politician who discussed  the allegations against him at length in an interview.

On Monday, a court cancelled the anticipatory bail granted earlier to Fernandes.

The case seems to be the latest example of lax investigations by the Goa Police. For one, the police seemed reluctant to medically exam the victim for evidence of rape; it also did not search Fernandes' car, the alleged scene of the crime, for several days.

The alleged victim has complained officially to the Russian Consulate that she has been pressured repeatedly by the police to drop the case, and that she feels unsafe.

Last week, the Goa Tourism Minister, Fransisco Pacheco, in a letter to the state's chief minister,  has complained that this and other cases like the rape and murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling are damaging the reputation of Goa. Pachecho wrote, the police in Goa is either "grossly incompetent or influenced by other factors", as a result of which complaints were not properly investigated.

In the Keeling case, little evidence  was presented by the police against the Goa shack-owner accused of raping and murdering the teenager last year. The investigation is now being handled by the CBI.

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