Even as reports of more kangaroo courts began to trickle in form other parts of the state after the Labhpur gangrape incident, the West Bengal government Friday instructed all superintendents of police to increase patrolling of the rural areas with a view to keeping on check “Salishi Sabhas” (kangaroo courts), a senior official of the state Home Department said.
“We have no law to stop these “salishi sabhas” because they are part of our village culture. But we have told our SPs to increase the vigil in the rural areas so that they could be stopped. The police should try not to allow any such sabha,” the official said.
He said that the state government would furnish all information to Birbhum District Judge who has been asked by the Supreme Court to visit the spot and hold independent inquires into the incident.
Meanwhile, another incident of a Kangaroo court to settle a rape case in exchange for money was reporters from Burdwan district. The village head in the case tried to suppress a rape case demanding Rs 1 lakh penalty from the accused youth.
However, the victim defied the order and lodged a complaint with Purbashtali police station Thursday.
The incident took place at Mahadebpur village at Mukshimpara panchayat area in Burdwan district.
The Mukshimpara panchayat is held by the ruling Trinamool Congress.
According to sources, the local TMC leaders held the kangaroo court in the village to settle the case and the accused was asked to deposit Rs 1 lakh for being acquitted of all the charges.
The police responded quickly to the complaint and arrested Inai Mallick, an insurance agent, who was named by the youth in his complaint.
Burdwan SP, S M Mirza could not be contacted despite several attempts.
However, the senior leadership of TMC has directed the police and administration to inquire into the involvement of the party members in holding the kangaroo court.
TMC general secretary Mukul Roy said, “We have asked the police and administration to investigate into the details of the incident and to ascertain if there was any role of TMC members in holding the court. I know that police have started the investigation and it will look into all the aspect. Any TMC member found guilty in holding the court will be punished.”
When contacted, Soumitra Mohan, DM, Burdwan said, “Police recorded the statement of the complainant in front of a magistrate complying all norms. All sorts of legal help have been provided to the victim and her family. Police officers are investigating into the matter.”
Tapan Chatterjee, MLA, Purbasthali said: “The victim and the accused knew each other and had a relationship. The villagers followed their activities. When the victim complained of sexual assault, the villagers tried to resolve the issue in a meeting.
This has been termed by the media as kangaroo court. But we have started our internal investigation as was directed by the party leadership. Nobody, including our partymen, will be spared if they are found guilty.