The gangrape of a tribal girl allegedly on the orders of a khap panchayat in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Tuesday was condemned by political parties on Thursday.
Ruling Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien tweeted, “Awoke to a terrible news of a young tribal girl gangraped on Khap orders in Birbhum. 10 ‘beasts’ swiftly rounded up. Social malaise; must change.”
Stating that police and administration did not sit idle and 13 accused were promptly arrested, Birbhum district TMC president Anubrata Mondol said the perpetrators should be given harsh punishment.
CPM central committee member Mohammed Salim said, “What has happened is barbaric, savage and uncivilised. Such incidents are unexpected in Bengal.”
He alleged incidents of rape had increased in the state because of police inaction.
State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said, “We are going back to the 16th century. This is unprecedented and unacceptable. The state government should take steps to control such incidents.”
The 20-year-old was allegedly gangraped by 13 persons after her community leaders held a meeting and decided to “punish” her for falling in love with a man from a different community. The 13 arrested have been sent to 14 days judicial custody. The girl said that among those who brutalised her were people old enough to be her father.
The West Bengal Women’s Commission will make a suo motu investigation into the incident. “We will order a probe into the incident Friday. The district SP will be asked to probe the matter and submit a report to the commission within 10 days,” state Women’s Commission chairperson Sunanda Goswami said.
The incident also shocked many in the state’s intellectual circles.“This is barbaric and uncivilised. If we can’t stop such incidents then both the state and the country will be doomed,” poet Shankha Ghosh said. Painter Jogen Chowdhury said, “What happened is shameful and should not have happened. But I feel reporting of such incidents should be done carefully.”