Bengal gang rape: Citizens, intellectuals protest

Kolkata, Jan 1 (IANS) Hundreds of people, led by intellectuals and cultural icons of the city, took to the street here Wednesday to protest police inaction in the gang rape and death of a girl in West Bengal’s North 24-Parganas district.

A 16-year-old resident of Madhyamgram in the district was gang raped by six people in October last year. The girl was subjected to the brutality a second time after she filed a police complaint.
She and her family were subjected to constant taunts and threats and Dec 23 she was hospitalised in a critical condition after she, unable to bear the continuous humiliation, reportedly set herself on fire.
She succumbed to her injuries Dec 31.
The girl’s parents, however, have claimed she was set ablaze by others and did not attempt suicide. She even told police about this in her statement before she died Tuesday, they added.
Painter Samir Aich, heading the protest rally, said: “Police were not able to provide any protection when the girl was first raped … when she was raped again, the police couldn’t provide security. Now see, how many policemen are present today… last night, I saw so many policemen at the morgue and they were trying to cremate the body without the knowledge of the family.”
“We are protesting against this action and want to convey to the chief minister that citizens of Bengal will not tolerate this.”
Filmmaker-actress Aparna Sen said the “heart-wrenching incident” has shocked and stunned her. “It should stop,” she said.
The gang rape was a cruel reminder of the Kamduni incident last year when a 20-year-old college girl was gang-raped and brutally murdered.
Pradeep Mukherjee, principal of the school which the Kamduni victim attended and head of the anti-rape forum, “Kamduni Pratibadi Mancha”, slammed the state government for not issuing any statement in the wake of the brutality on the minor.
“How can there be incidents of gang rape twice (on the same girl)? This speaks of incompetence on part of the police…I doubt if such condemnable incident is there in Bengal’s history…let alone in India’s history,” he said.
“The state government has not given any kind of statement post the incident expressing grief…even though the chief minister is a woman…I think she should resign,” Mukherjee said.