A Tripura minister seen on video groping a female ministerial colleague on stage in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed in a major controversy with the opposition demanding that he be fired and charged with sexual harassment.
Tripura’s opposition Left Front on Monday demanded that minister Manoj Kanti Deb be sacked for “touching” the woman in an “indecent manner” during a rally in Agartala on Saturday that was also attended by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb.
When contacted, the minister declined to comment on the incident. The ruling BJP, however, dismissed the charge, hitting out at the Left Front for “character assassination”.
“Manoj Kanti Deb must be sacked and be arrested for touching the woman minister in an extremely indecent manner on the stage from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and others addressed the public gathering,” Left Front convener Bijan Dhar told the media.
He said that it appeared publicly on various social media websites that Mr Deb put his hand on the waist of Social Welfare and Social Education Minister Santana Chakma, a young tribal leader.
“The male minister has publicly harmed the modesty, sanctity and dignity of the lone woman minister of Tripura at a public platform where the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and other important personalities were present,” Mr Dhar said.
He alleged that an increasing number of women are being raped, murdered and kidnapped since the BJP-led government came to power in Tripura 11 months ago.
Other local parties in Tripura are also planning protests soon to demand the resignation and arrest of the minister.