Gangrape: Mamata government under fire
With the civil society hitting the streets and political opposition joining the stir over the double gangrape of a 16-year-old girl and her subsequent death from burn injuries near Kolkata on Tuesday, the ruling Mamata Banerjee government on Thursday set out to quell the embers saying it would provide all help to the family of the victim, punish the culprits and pursue its policy of zero tolerance to crime against women.
Besides political opposition like the Left Front attacking the government and the intellectuals holding street protests, the National Commission for Women in New Delhi also turned the heat on the Mamata government saying the Chief Minister should have taken the issue seriously and acted at the right time to prevent the death.
The girl from Bihar, who staying with her parents in Madhyamgram near Kolkata in North 24 Parganas, died after she was allegedly set ablaze by the accused while earlier reports said she had committed suicide. In her dying statement she said she was set on fire.
"The state government will provide financial assistance to the family. We reiterate our commitment for zero tolerance [to attack on women]," said West Bengal Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra in a press briefing at Nabanna, the new state secretariat in Howrah.
"All the six accused against whom there are allegations have been arrested. Scientific analysis and urgent steps are taken in such cases, so that culprits can be punished quickly," he said.
He said all the accused are in jail custody and they are being charge-sheeted in 55 days and would be given exemplary punishment.
He said the family was protected by the police.
"The government is fully with the bereaved family. However, at this point, I would wish to strongly deplore the tendency to create politics over a dead body," he said.
He also ruled out any medical negligence in treating the girl saying that there was no such evidence and a six-member medical board was constituted for the same.
"She died of multi organ failure," Mitra said.
At a function, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee without referring to the Madhyamgram rape said no conspiracy would be able to scuttle the good work on which she has embarked.
She said nothing should be spread in a matter that there is a dispute between two communities.
Earlier, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the Kolkata gangrape victim's family. The Left Front also came up with financial assistance to the victim.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women chairperson Mamta Sharma said they would write to the Chief Minister seeking explanation. She said the CM should have taken up the matter seriously when the girl was first raped since she was raped twice and then killed.
"The girl should have been protected and since there was no protection she was raped again and subsequently killed," Sharma said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also slammed the state government and demanded justice.
"The matter should not be a game between Trinamool Congress and the CPI-M. The guilty should be punished," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Congress party in West Bengal demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose said the police tried to hijack the body and forcibly cremate it without the consent of the parents. He said the government has been lying on
Kolkata intellectuals also reacted angrily. Filmmaker Aparna Sen, painter Samir Aich along with others were seen on the streets and slamming the
The Kolkata Police on Thursday said the 16-year-old gangrape victim was set ablaze by the accused, after they took her statement before death.
According to reports, the police have appealed to the court to initiate murder charges against two of the six accused - Ratan Sil and Minta Sil - in the case.
The police said since the girl refused to withdraw her rape complaint despite threats, the accused poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.
The victim's family was tenants of Ratan and Minta.
The father of the victim, who had died in a Kolkata hospital, on Wednesday alleged that his daughter did not commit suicide but was set ablaze by the same men who gangraped her twice in October last year.
Following the girl's death, a battle between her father and the police broke over her body.
Her body was handed over to the family by the Kolkata Police on Wednesday.
She was cremated at the Neemtala Ghat crematorium later in the evening.
The girl's death not only triggered massive protests in the city but became another hotbed for political battle.
Her father also met West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan and sought justice.
The victim, who was a resident of Madhyamgram in North 24 Parganas district, was allegedly gangraped by same men twice in October.
Earlier it was reported that she had set herself on fire on Dec 23, though the parents later said she was set on fire by the accused.
The girl's father, who is a Left affiliated Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) member, first wanted her daughter to be cremated after her body was carried in a protest procession.
The girl's family has demanded death sentence for the culprits.
Reports said the girl was pregnant from the rapes when she died.
(Posted on 02-01-2014)