Goa's Arts and Culture Minister Govind Gaude on Friday said that it was logistically not possible for a government to post policemen to guard every girl in the state. "The problem is, if one has to post a policeman for every person, every girl, how many police will we require? This is what it is. Government is not running away from responsibility. Government is protecting. Government is there with the people," Gaude told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing Monsoon Session of the state Legislative Assembly.
His statement came in days after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was slammed by the Opposition for blaming parents for the rape of two minors on a beach.
Gaude, who is also a lone independent MLA supporting the BJP-led coalition government, also said that protection of minor children was a joint responsibility to be shared by parents and the government.
"He (CM) has already said that it is also the responsibility of the parents to know about where the children are. It does not mean that the government has not taken hands off and is running away from holding responsibility," Gaude said.
"CM has already clarified about this. Being a parent, he has said that parents, especially in minor cases, have to look where children are going, have children taken permission, whether they are staying at somebody's place. It is the responsibility of the parents and governments also," Gaude said.
The Opposition had demanded an apology from the CM over his comments made on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Sawant in a discussion during the Monsoon Session of the Assembly had said that parents should introspect why their minor wards are allowed to spend time on beaches after dark.
"Ten children went for a party on the beach. Out of the 10, six returned home. The remaining four, including two boys and two girls, stayed on the beach the whole night. When a 14-year old girl spends the night on the beach, the parents too have to introspect, they too should be taking care," Sawant had said.
However, the CM today clarified his statement saying it was taken "out of context". "My statement about the unfortunate incident was taken out of context. Both as head of a responsible government and as a father of a 14-year-old daughter, I was deeply pained and disturbed. The pain of this incident is inexplicable," Sawant said.
"At no point, I have tried to deny the right to security provided by our law. Goa Police has been a truly professional force especially when it comes to the security of women and children. They have already acted swiftly and arrested the accused, and let me assure you that I shall ensure that the culprits get the most stringent punishment under the law. The safety of our citizens is always my govt's top priority," he also said.
On the night of July 24, two minor girls were raped at the Colva beach in South Goa. Four persons, including a government servant, have been arrested in connection with the crime.
(With IANS Inputs)