Tribals protest Birbhum gang-rape
Tribals in West Bengal's Birbhum district on Saturday held protests against the gang-rape of a 20-year-old woman by 13 men on the orders of a Khap Panchayat.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the Birbhum gang-rape case, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the West Bengal government and asked it to file a report within a week even as all the 13 accused in the case were taken into police custody.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court ordered the probe.
The accused were during the day remanded in police custody till Feb 6 by a local court.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday ordered the removal of the Birbhum superintendent of police C Sudhakar for failing to appeal for police custody of the accused.
While 13 accused, including a village council head, were arrested, the Trinamool Congress said that Mamata Banerjee, who was touring in North Bengal and was in Darjeeling, had ordered the removal of Birbhum SP C Sudhakar.
The SP was removed because the accused were not taken into police custody, a lapse that angered the chief minister.
The girl is stable, doctors attending on her said on Friday.
"She is taking food. She is stable. We are monitoring her health and she has been given all security," said the superintendent of Suri hospital inBirbhum.
The West Bengal Women and Child Welfare department officials also visited the victim.
West Bengal Women and Child Welfare Minister Shashi Panja also spoke to the victim's family and assured all assistance earlier while she might meet her on Friday, said reports.
"The police acted swiftly and cops have been empowered to act immediately and strongly in such cases by the chief minister," said Shashi Panja.
At least 13 people were arrested till Thursday for the gang-rape of the tribal woman in Birbhum district on Monday at the behest of a local kangaroo court of the village that "punished" the girl for daring to love a boy from a different community.
"We have arrested 13 people in this connection. The incident occurred on Monday," Birbhum Superintendent of Police C Sudhakar told IBNS, adding that the girl is now stable.
The incident occurred in Subalpur village of Birbhum district, about 200 from Kolkata.
Such an incident is unheard in a tribal society where women always have their say in choosing their male partners.
While the woman was raped, her companion from a different community, a mason, was kept tied up in the village square.
After the kangaroo court ordered a fine of Rs 25,000/- for their affair, the village head asked everyone "to enjoy the girl" and himself took turn to rape her.
"Perhaps this is the ill effect of the tribal people coming to the mainstream of our so called civilized society," said West Bengal Women Commission chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee.
(Posted on 26-01-2014)
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