Woman Accuses Arunachal CM Pema Khandu Of Rape; The BJP Leader Terms It A "Political Move" Crafted By Opponents
Trouble seems to be brewing for the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh after a woman from the CM’s hometown Tawang accused him of gang-rape on February 15. CM Khandu’s late father Dorjee Khandu was the chief minister when the alleged crime took place in the year 2008.
The woman had earlier lodged a complaint with the police in 2015 and her recent complaint is filed with the National Commission for Women (NCW). She alleged that in 2008 the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader lured her to a circuit house on the pretext of a job. She claimed to be sedated before being gang-raped by Khandu, a school teacher Tupten Tashi and a government official Dorjee Wangchu.
“I was taken to the room with five people by Phurpa (Lama), a regular customer at the telephone booth where I worked in Tawang. I recognised Nawang, who worked at the local radio station and felt at ease. Khandu introduced himself as a colonel, and another man introduced himself as a National Hydroelectric Power Corporation official. I was offered a drink, which they said was apple juice. I felt dizzy and then three of them raped me,” she said, as reported by The Telegraph.
“She got frightened after the rape and went to the police, but her complaint was not registered. She went to the court as well but started getting death threats due to which she did not file her complaint, and her case was dismissed,“ said the woman’s lawyer Rashmi Bhati, reported Business Standard.
The woman left Tawang for Itanagar in 2011 after being socially boycotted. She alleged that the trio threatened to “chop her to pieces”. If she complained, they threatened to get her arrested by spreading the false rumour that she is “HIV-positive”.
Meanwhile, NCW Chairperson said, “The NCW has received a complaint in this regard. The Commission is going through the documents, and it will be seeking legal advice since a court dismissed the matter in Arunachal Pradesh. So after going through the complaint, NCW will react on the matter.”
CM Khandu’s response
The Chief Minister in his defence has called the accusation a political move crafted by his opponents.
On Thursday, CM Khandu filed a defamation case against the woman. “We take strong cognisance of the mala fide intentions of the complainant and her accomplices in irreversibly tarnishing the image and reputation of the Chief Minister,” a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said from Itanagar, according to The Hindu.
Dismissing the woman’s complaint, the CMO’s office questioned the “timing” of the complaint as the rape was purportedly committed in 2008 and the complaint was lodged with the police seven years later in 2015.
Other controversies surrounding CM Khandu
Former CM of Arunachal Pradesh Kalikho Pul had committed suicide on August 9, 2016.
The day before he killed himself, Pul had written a 60-page note titled “Mere Vichar” (My Thoughts) that levelled serious allegations of corruption against many top state politicians – including Chief Minister Pema Khandu.