Kolkata, March 28 IANS | 8 months ago

The opposition Friday flayed the West Bengal government after the Supreme Court directed it to pay additional compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the Birbhum gang rape victim.

The opposition also branded as "shameful" the inability of the Trinamool Congress-led government to ensure safety of women.

A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice N.V. Ramana ordered the state government to grant a compensation of Rs.5 lakh in addition to the Rs.50,000 already sanctioned to the 20-year-old victim.

The bench also said the state government failed to protect the fundamental right of the tribal woman who was violated earlier this year by several men allegedly at the behest of a kangaroo court in a village near Labhpur in Birbhum district.

Top leaders and a section of city's leading intellectuals noted the injunction should jolt the administration into taking steps to prevent crimes against women.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said it is a shame for entire Bengal and not just political leaders.

"As a representative of Bengal, I feel ashamed. Entire state has to take the shame because of the state government. We can't have faith in the administration," he said.

BJP national executive member Tathagata Roy said the SC's directive is "necessary" for the state government and it should become cautious.

"The incidents of atrocities against women that occurred during the CPI-M's rule, the situation is similar now under the TMC's rule. There is no effort to stop it," he said.

Deriding the state government for "shamelessly trying to cover up" incidents of rape, Congress leader Omprakash Mishra said: "It is a shame for Bengal when the state government says it is protecting the interests of women but the SC directive shows it is not so.

This is a dangerous situation where the government tries to cover up incidents and labels it fabricated."

CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty said incidents are overlooked when the TMC is involved.

"Whenever the TMC flag is there, it is a case of 'saat khoon maaf' or seven sins forgiven. The way things are progressing, it is very bad for the future. We are humiliated and the government should free us from this," he said.

Sociologist Saswati Ghosh who objected to the word "compensation", said the SC order is "significant".

"The victim is in need of proper rehab. It will be an example for future cases and the directive will make the government more aware," she said.

Women's rights activist Bolan Ganguly drew attention to the prevention of such incidents and accused the state government of not taking proper precautions.

"Though the compensation will not heal her trauma, it will help to stabilise her situation. We are going through extremely troubled times. The first and foremost issue is prevention ... why will such incident occur in the first place?" she said.

The apex court Jan 24 took suo motu cognizance of the gang rape, describing it as "very disturbing". The court issued a notice to the West Bengal government and sought a report from the district judge within a week.

It is alleged the victim was raped by a dozen men for falling in love with a man from a different community.

(Posted on 28-03-2014)

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