Encouraged by the Supreme Court entertaining kins of two BJP workers allegedly murdered by TMC workers during the post-poll violence in West Bengal, more women have moved SC narrating their horrific gang-rape by ruling party members and seeking
SIT probe into all incidents of violence and the alleged inaction of police.
The women cited the pro-active action taken by the Supreme Court in post-Godhra communal riots cases in Gujarat and sought a similar court-monitored SIT probe into incidents of gangrape and murders that went on with impunity for a fortnight in the state after TMC scored a massive victory in the assembly elections.
A 60-year-old woman narrated the manner in which TMC workers ran amuck after the declaration of Assembly poll results, barged into her house in a village in Purba Medinipur and gangraped her in front of her six-year-old grandson prior to robbing her household of all valuables on the intervening night of May 4-5.
A house ransacked in political clashes in West Bengal
She said despite BJP winning from the constituency (Khejuri), a mob of 100-200 TMC workers surrounded her house on May 3 and threatened to bomb it. In fear, her daughter-in-law left the house the next day. On the intervening night of May 4-5, five TC workers barged into the house, assaulted her, tied her to a cot and then gang-raped her in front of her grandson, the woman alleged in her application before the SC.
BJP workers and their family members crossed over to Dhubri in Assam after confronted with violence.
She said that she was found by neighbours in an unconscious state the next morning and was referred to the district hospital. She alleged that when her son-in-law went to the police to lodge an FIR, the police refused to entertain. She said TMC workers used rape as a weapon to take revenge, humiliate and silence political rivals in the state during the post-poll violence.
“While the history is replete with gruesome instances where rape was employed as a strategy to terrorise the enemy civilian population and to demoralise enemy troops, but never have such cruel crimes been committed against a woman citizen for her or her family’s participation in the democratic process. Not merely the said crimes were facilitated by the inaction of the state authorities/police, but what was shocking is post crime humiliation that the rape survivors were subjected to, for their perceived audacity in reporting the crime,” she said.
“The perversity of the investigation as is being carried out by the local police can be inferred from the fact that while the rape was committed by five accused who were all named by the rape survivor, and when the rape is confirmed by a medical report, the police has deliberately chosen to name only one of the five accused in the FIR,” she alleged and sought an investigation by SIT/CBI citing that the accused persons are members of the ruling party.
A 17-year-old minor girl from the Scheduled Caste community too moved the SC seeking SIT/CBI investigation into her alleged gang rape by TMC workers on May 9 and shifting of the trial outside the state. She said that not only was she gangraped and left to die in the jungle after being dragged in there by TMC supporters, the very next day a TMC local leader Bahadur SK came to her house and threatened the family members against lodging a complaint. He threatened to burn their house and kill them if they did so, she alleged in her application in SC.
She said she was being kept in a Child Welfare Home and her parents are not allowed to meet her. “Such has been the conduct of local police/administration that instead of sympathising with her and family members, the police is pressuring her family saying their other daughter may face the same consequences,” she said and requested for an independent probe.
Another women, Purnima Mondal, whose husband Dharama Mondol was killed by alleged TMC workers during the post-poll violence, told the SC that “such is the vengeful nature of the violence that that the applicant’s husband, who campaigned for BJP, was subsequently identified and assaulted with axes in broad day light on May 14. The present applicant was made to helplessly witness the assault on her husband and her brother-in-law, while she herself was being disrobed, grabbed and struggling to survive the rape attempt made of her body by two members of the same violent mob, which was led by a local elected representative. The applicant’s husband subsequently passed away on May 16.”
Purnima said, “The police was more concerned about pressurising the applicant and her family members into filing a weak complaint and finally succeeded in procuring such a complaint from the injured brother in law of the applicant. Chapra Police have lodged a complaint devoid of material details of the incident and suppressed the role of the elected representative, who was not only leading the violent mob which attacked the applicant’s family and gave orders to the members of the mob to attack and kill, applicant’s husband. It also does not take in to account or give any reference of the attempt to rape made on her body by the members of group which was led by the said elected representative, Kaalu Sheikh.”
“As the applicant was devastated after the incident, it was only after the cremation of her husband, that she went to the police station to make a detailed complaint but the police officer not only refused to record her statement despite she being an eye witness and a victim herself but also after abusing and threatening her forced the applicant out of the police station,” she alleged.