Kolkata, 22nd January, 2014: The brutal gang-rape of a tribal girl in Lavpur in Birbhum district has exposed not only the deterioration of law and order in the state, but also how the rural Bengal has come under savage rule of Trinamool Congress.
The incident took place on January 21, in Subalpur village. It is a shocking incident where a kangaroo court was summoned to decide on the fate of the girl who had an affair with a boy of another community. The so-called ‘arbitration court’ asked for a hefty fine for the ‘crime’. As the family of the girl declared their inability to pay the ransom, an ‘order’ was passed to rape the girl. Some 12 to 13 people raped the girl in the village itself. The medical test also proved that the girl was indeed gang-raped.
As the details began to come to light, it was proved that the signatories to the order of the ‘fine’ included local Trinamool panchayat member, a non-tribal. Two other TMC leaders were also involved in the crime, both of whom were non-tribal. Ajoy Mondal, the panchayat member feigned ignorance until his signatures were exposed in the media. Another TMC leader, Debraj Mondal reportedly used his video to shoot the crime. It was not an “adivasi practice” at all, but the handiwork of a gang of criminals, using the fake and unjust ‘arbitration’.
In a typically Mamata-administration’s way of handling atrocities against the women, the police did not seek the remand of 13 accused even after arresting them. In the process, very important medical tests of the culprits and other necessary details were skipped. With huge condemnation of the act, the chief minister ordered the transfer of the district police superintendent and police was forced to appeal to court again to take the accused into their remand. Meanwhile, in a suo moto action, the Supreme Court has ordered the Birbhum district judge to conduct an enquiry of his own and submit report to the apex court.
The incident, coming only weeks after the gruesome murder of a rape victim in Madhyamgram, sparked a spontaneous protest in the state. AIDWA, DYFI, SFI, CITU and other organisations protested through road blockades and rallies throughout the state.
A Left Front delegation led by the leader of the opposition Surya Kanta Misra went to see the raped girl at the Siuri Hospital. Mishra talked with the victim and her mother and then met the hospital superintendent. The delegation also visited Subalpur village. Misra lamented that the Panchayat administration of West Bengal, for which the state was known to the researchers from all across the country and even overseas, for which the state was proud of, has now turned in to the ‘Khap’ Panchayat of the ruling Trinamool Congress. He said that there is no other instance of such brutality in the history of this state.
Left Front chairman and CPI(M) state secretary Biman Basu has condemned the incident and has demanded exemplary punishment for the miscreants. He said the security and honour of the women in the state has been trampled. It seems that the state was moving towards the medieval era. The All India Democratic Women’s Organisation has also condemned this brutal barbaric act. Besides demanding justice, they said there was not a single day in West Bengal without any incident of atrocity on women taking place. They have demanded security arrangement for the tribal woman and her family members.
AIDWA Demands Action in the Gang-Rape case of Adivasi Girl
The following is the press statement issued by the All India Democratic Women’s Association on January 23:
It is shocking that not a day passes in West Bengal without one or the other incident of violence against women. The latest incident has taken place in Labhpur, Birbhum on January 21, when a 20 year-old adivasi girl from the village of Rajrampur was abducted and gang-raped by 12 persons from the same village as she had dared to have a relationship with a non-tribal boy. This was done after a kangaroo-court called apparently by some village elders sought to extract a fine of Rs 50,000 from the girl’s family for this supposed offence, and the family pleaded their inability to pay the same. The couple were reportedly brought before the kangaroo-court bound hand and foot and even after the boy pleaded that he wanted to marry the girl, the perpetrators ignored him and gave the verdict for the girl to be raped as a punishment by those present. She was dragged to an adjoining room and attacked by a number of persons from her own village, and left severely injured in front of her house. The next day she went with her mother and lodged an FIR at Labhpur Thana, after which she was admitted to the PHC and then shifted to Siuri District Hospital. The police have so far arrested 11 persons on the basis of the FIR. The AIDWA has led a deputation to the SP and several protest rallies have been conducted against the growing atmosphere of insecurity, especially for women in West Bengal.
Although some arrests have been made in this particular case, it is necessary that the administration makes immediate arrangements for the full security of the survivor and her family. All the perpetrators and instigators must be arrested and a proper investigation conducted. It is increasingly the case in several districts of West Bengal including Birbhum that there is a growing atmosphere of violence, with gangs of armed anti-socials taking the law in their own hands. This is because many of them enjoy the political patronage of the ruling party, as a result of which the police and the administration turn a blind eye to them. Consequently, lawlessness has been increasing at all levels, since there is now a feeling that such crimes can go unpunished. The AIDWA expresses its grave concern about the situation, and stands by all those who are victims of the growing crimes against women in the state.