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Bengal governor seeks corporal punishment for gang-rapists

Kolkata, Jan 23 : Reacting to the gruesome gang rape of a tribal woman on the orders of a kangaroo court in West Bengal's Birbhum district, Governor M.K. Narayanan Thursday said the perpetrators of the crime should get corporal punishment, to set an example.


Reacting to the incident, the governor, speaking in the state capital, said: "I think they (the accused) should be handed out immediate corporal punishment, to set an example."

A 20-year-old tribal woman was allegedly raped by more than a dozen men Monday night in Subalpur village in Birbhum district, some 180 km from Kolkata. Thirteen men have so far been arrested in this connection.

The woman was admitted to hospital with critical injuries after being subjected to the brutality on the orders of a kangaroo court which held that she was guilty of having an affair with a man outside her community.

"I think the whole district administration, including the police head, should be sacked immediately. How can such a barbaric incident be allowed to happen," state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammad Salim attacked the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in the state over the incident.

"Instead of indulging in festivities and merry-making, the chief minister should focus on the law and order situation in the state, which has gone down the dumps. With repeated incidents of rapes, women now fear to come out. It's a shame for the whole state," Salim said.

"I wonder what kind of times we live in. How can a few people act as law unto themselves and order such barbarism? What was the administration doing? There is a need to set an example by meting out stringent punishment," famous painter Samir Aich said.

Reminiscent of the infamous Mukhtaran Mai case in Pakistan, the gruesome incident has evoked strong revulsion and responses from diverse sections of society.

Mukhtaran Mai is the survivor of a brutal gang-rape in Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan in 2002. She was raped by men from the Mastoi Baloch clan, in revenge for her brother's alleged affair with a Mastoi woman.

Mukhtaran Mai belongs to the Tatla clan, which is not as powerful or rich as the Mastoi.

--IANS (Posted on 23-01-2014)

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