New Delhi, Jan 14 (Agencies): Congress on Friday lashed out at the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh terming as "outrageous" the continued incarceration of a Dalit girl in a false case who was allegedly raped by BSP MLA Purshottam Dwivedi and demanded strictest punishment for the accused.

"It is absolutely outrageous that the victim is actually behind bars in a false case and that it took Uttar Pradesh government so long to even move to arrest the perpetrator," party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters at the AICC briefing.

Terming the rape incident "an outrage and utterly condemnable", Natarajan said, "The person who is guilty, after due proceedure of law, should immediately be punished in
strictest possible terms."

When told that the BSP MLA has accused opposition parties of implicating him in a false case, Natarajan dismissively said, "I think it was the police there (which took action)."

The Congress spokesperson said that the issue of greater conern is that the "the establishment took so long to react in this case of a completely helpless young Dalit girl. I think the administration and establishment should do their job in the fastest possible  manner."

Meanwhile, BJP on Friday expressed shock at the way Uttar Pradesh administration had handled the rape of a Dalit girl involving a BSP MLA but hoped that the state government headed by a woman would respond soon and the victim would be released from prison.

"The poor girl is still languishing in prison even after arrest orders have been issued against the person who allegedly raped that child. We are shocked at the judicial system, policing system in UP," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

The Rajya Sabha MP said the state, ruled by a woman chief minister, would hopefully take action at the earliest.

"I am sure the government will respond immediately, especially a lady Chief Minister would listen to the appeal at the reckless attitude of her government and find a solution that the victim gets back her the dignity. She is released and gets justice too," Rudy said.

48-year-old Dwivedi, who represents Naraini seat in Uttar Pradesh Assembly, was on the run after orders for his arrest were issued yesterday in connection with the alleged criminal assault on the 17-year-old girl belonging to the backward community.

The girl was allegedly raped on December 10-11, 2010, at the legislators's residence. She escaped from the MLA's house on December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted rape for
a third time and was arrested the same day on theft charges.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh unit of Congress said it would move the High Court seeking the release of the girl.

"We will appeal in the High Court to ensure the release of the girl", PCC President Rita Bahuguna Joshi said in a statement in Lucknow.

Joshi also demanded enhanced security for Congress' Banda MLA Vivek Singh who, she said, had highlighted the case due to which BSP MLA Purshottam Naresh Dwivedi was booked on
the charge of raping her.