February 02, 2014

Lavpur Gang Rape: Ruling Party’s Khap Panchayat is the Culprit

From Our Special Correspondent in Kolkata

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.