Thousands of women hit the streets at Agartala city on Thursday, condemning BJP MLA Sudip Roy Barman’s call to hold an ‘apolitical’ march against crime on women. The women’s rally saw the presence of BJP Mahila Morcha leaders and workers in large numbers.
The rally was called by Soma Majumder, who was tied to a pole and assaulted in public by a group of people, mostly women, in the infamous Tata Kalibari incident in 2014. Seven people, including three women, were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment in the case.
Recounting the horrors of the incident, Majumder said then Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman had suggested her to reconcile with the culprits. Barman was sacked from the Biplab Deb Cabinet earlier this year.
“The then Governor PB Acharya came to my rescue. I went ahead with the complaint against those who assaulted me. I also filed a complaint against six police personnel with the state police Accountability Commission. There is no action on that complaint yet,” Soma said.
“I dare him (Sudip Roy Barman) to come in front of me and check out who has got more mettle. I am not afraid even of dying for this,” Soma further said.
BJP Mahila Morcha state president Papia Dutta said the Congress-Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti (TUJS) government, which ruled Tripura from 1988 till 1993, witnessed the highest incidents of crime against women.
Referring to Sudip Roy Barman and his father, former chief minister Samir Ranjan Barman, Dutta said they publicly abused former prime minister Indira Gandhi during his tenure.
“The fate of women can’t be secure in the hands of those who publicly abuse their own party chief, who was also a woman. Where were they when women were raped at Raibari in 1989, at Umanjoy Para in 2003 or near Agartala Town Hall? Why didn’t these stage-actor agitators protest when Soma Majumder was tortured and abused,” Papia Dutta said.
The rally, which saw the participation of about 5,000 women, saw protesters coming from all eight districts of Tripura. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Sudip Roy Barman said the rally was in poor taste since his movement was solely against rising incidents of crime against women.
“My rally is strictly against crimes on women. It will continue as per the announced schedule from 11 pm tomorrow. These are lies. These people have taken to the streets to satisfy someone’s ego at the cost of the party. I don’t support all such things that are detriment to the party,” Barman said.
Barman’s march for solidarity comes in stark contrast to CM Biplab Kumar Deb’s claim made in September that crime on women had reduced significantly during his tenure, which began in March 2018.