A rape allegation from two minor girls in Rajasthan has given the BJP ammunition against the Congress amid the huge political battle over the death of a 20-year-old in Hathras after gangrape and torture. A second case, where another minor was involved, has helped the state's opposition party pile on the pressure.
In the first instance, two sisters -- aged 13 and 15 -- who went missing from their home in Baran, have accused two 17-year-olds of gangrape. Medical examination, however, has not supported their allegation, the police said.
The girls, who went missing on September 18, were recovered from Kota on September 23. "They kept us in a hotel and they would mix drugs with our food. Then two or three men came and raped us. I am not sure how many... we were too scared to speak as they said they would kill our parents if we told the truth," one of the girls told reporters today.
The rape claim came eight days after the girls made a statement to the magistrate -- their statement was recorded on September 23 -- where they did not mention any sexual attack or the presence of any boys. But they changed their statement after they were allowed to go home and meet their parents, the police said.
"They said they ran off from home for a while to escape their strict father, who never allowed them to go anywhere," said senior police officer DR Ravi, while explaining why no case of abduction or rape was registered. "If new facts are coming to light, we can re-investigate the matter," the officer added.
The girls are currently undergoing counselling by child welfare groups, the police said. Depending on their statement afterwards, they can be presented again before the magistrate and legal steps can be taken, the police said. The boys named are yet to be arrested.
In the other case, a 15-year-old girl from Sikar – nearly 400 km from Baran -- said a man known to the family, raped her when he came to visit with his friend. Five days later, she was raped again by another man, who claimed that he had video clipping of the initial assault and used it to blackmail her. In her complaint, she also named her sister-in-law, who she said, had brought the men home and was complicit in the case, the police said.
Both men, who are in their twenties, have been arrested and a medical examination has confirmed sexual assault, the police said.
Pointing to the cases, the BJP today targetted the Ashok Gehlot government.
Senior BJP leader Diya Kumari tweeted: "Angry at the news of gang rape of a girl going to school in Jaipur, rape of a minor in Sikar, kidnapping of minor daughters in Baran, gang rape of a woman in Ajmer, rape of innocent girls and women from different areas of the state".
"The state government should come out of inaction, provide justice to the victims and take serious steps to protect the women and girls of the state," a Hindi tweet from her, roughly translated, read.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the incident in Baran is being blown out of proportion in the wake of the Hathras case, which he termed "highly condemnable".
The two incidents, he said, were being compared unfairly. "In Baran, the girls in statements before the magistrate said they had gone out with the boys on their free will. Medical tests of the girls have been conducted and it has come out that the boys are also minor.
Investigation will continue further," he tweeted. "A section of the media and the opposition are trying to mislead the people of by comparing it to a gruesome incident like Hathras," he added in another tweet.
After Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan has been the state with the second highest crime rate against women. Against 59,853 cases of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan this year registered 41,550 cases of crimes against women.