By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, April 20, 2018: As many as five legislators from Odisha including two ministers have cases pertaining to crimes against women, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-profit election watchdog, report released on Friday.

Among the five, four are from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and one is from Independent party. While the BJD has 118 MLAs in the 147-member Assembly, the Congress and the BJP have 15 and 10 legislators respectively.

Bijay Kumar Mohanty (MLA of Bhubaneswar Central), Samir Ranjan Dash (MLA of Nimapara in Puri), Nrusingha Charan Sahoo (MLA of Parjanga in Dhenkanal), Pratap Jena (MLA of Mahanga in Cuttack) and Sanatan Mahakud (MLA of Champua in Keonjhar district) are facing charges of crime against women, the ADR report revealed.

The report assumes significance as politicians in the country are facing criticism for increasing incidents of rapes of minors especially after an 8-year-old girl was gang-raped and killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district.

Odisha has five MLAs who have declared cases of crime against women same as Andhra Pradesh. Maharashtra has the highest number of MPs and MLAs (12) followed by West Bengal (11).

The Delhi-based think-tank further stated that as many as 37 cases of crime against women were lodged against five Odisha lawmakers.

Nrusingha Charan Sahu, Minister of state for commerce and transport and Pratap Jena, who holds two important portfolios such as Law and Health and Family Welfare, have charges related to assault or criminal force to women with intent to outrage her modesty (IPC Section – 354) among others, the report said.

Charges related to word, gesture, or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (IPC Section – 509), charges related obscene acts and songs (IPC Section – 294) were framed against Bhubaneswar (Central) MLA Mohanty.

Mahakud, the richest MLA in the State, is booked under many such cases like obscene acts and assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, it added.

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