TWO WOMEN from West Bengal have moved the Supreme Court alleging rape by supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress during the post-poll violence in the state in May, immediately after Mamata Banerjee led her party to a third term in power.
Seeking a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) or the CBI, both the women — a 60-year-old and a 17-year-old — have in separate pleas sought to be made parties in a pending petition filed by Biswajit Sarkar, brother of Bengal BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar, who was murdered, allegedly by TMC workers, during the post-poll violence in May.
In Kolkata, police said that while one person has been arrested for the rape of the 60-year-old, three persons have been held in the case of the minor’s gangrape.
In her applications in the Supreme Court, the 60-year-old alleged that she was gangraped by five TMC workers in the presence of her six-year-old grandchild.
She alleged that on May 3, a day after the Assembly poll results, a mob of around 100-200 TMC supporters had surrounded her house and threatened the family to leave the house or face consequences. Then, on the night of May 4, she alleged, five TMC men barged into the house when she was with her grandchild. She alleged that she was slapped, beaten, handcuffed and tied to the bed “as the criminals forced themselves on her”.
The plea said that as her condition deteriorated, after eight days, she was admitted to a private hospital, where medical tests confirmed rape.
Alleging that the “conduct of the state police is unsatisfactory and non-cooperative”, she has demanded a court-monitored SIT probe. The plea also alleged that police had “deliberately chosen to name only one of the five accused in the FIR”.
Superintendent of Police Amarnath K said, “According to a complaint by the victim’s relatives, she was raped by one person. We arrested the accused, 35-year-old Mohammad Usman, the same day. He is still in judicial custody.”
The victim’s son-in-law told The Indian Express, “My mother-in-law was threatened many times after the polls. That night, they raped her and even tried to poison her. Her grandchild was in the room and he hid under the bed. I lodged a police complaint but only one person was arrested. The rest of the accused are roaming free. We have no faith in the police. That is why we approached the Supreme Court.”
Tapas Dolui, general secretary of a BJP organisational district, said, “She is our supporter and used to come for our meetings. The Trinamool Congress targeted her because of that.”
In the second case, a 17-year-old girl filed an application through advocate Ravi Sharma, alleging she was gangraped by TMC workers on May 9, “solely for her family’s political affiliations and religious beliefs”.
Her plea said that on May 9, she and her friend were returning from her grandmother’s house when they were stopped by four men and dragged to a nearby jungle, with the attackers allegedly shouting, “Now we will teach you a lesson for supporting the BJP. Your families should know this is the outcome of opposing our leader”. The application alleged that the men took turns to rape her for more than an hour. The plea further said that the girl’s friend managed to flee and led the victim’s family to the spot, where they found her unconscious. The application said police were yet to arrest one of the men involved.
In Kolkata, a police officer said, “Three persons were arrested as soon as police received the complaint.”
A BJP worker, who lives in the same neighbourhood as the victim, said, “The girl’s family are all supporters of our party. We do not trust the police here.”
Rajib Hossain, a district general secretary of Trianamool Congress, said, “There is no truth in the allegation. We have faith in the judiciary. The BJP is taking these matters to the Supreme Court because they cannot accept their defeat.”
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