West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today lashed out at the police over the incident of Hanskhali gang-rape that is reminiscent of a similar incident in Bogtui. She asked the police officials why they were late in taking action in the incident.
Banerjee, who is also the police minister of West Bengal, mocked the cops that they had no “source” [read “informers”].
On 5 April, a minor was allegedly gang-raped in the Shyamnagar area under the jurisdiction of the Hanskhali police station in Nadia. The Hanskhali case has gone to the CBI too.
During her speech at the administrative meeting today. Banerjee told the superintendent of police for District Ranaghat, “How did this incident happen in Hanskhali? Why didn’t you get a whiff of it before? Don’t you have any sources? Tell me why the government will suffer for your little negligence?”
“The (state) government does not want to hide anything. The government wants action to be taken against those who are guilty, whoever they are,” Banerjee said.
By “whoever”, Banerjee was apparently making a veiled reference to the son of a Trinamool Congress panchayat member, who was arrested in connection with the death of the minor girl who was allegedly gang-raped at her birthday party in Hanskhali by the suspect. The parents of the 14-year-old girl, a student of Class 9, had lodged the complaint against Brajagopal alias Sohail Goyali at the local police station four days after the incident.
Goyali has been slapped with POCSO charges, besides rape, murder and suppression of evidence.
Two PILs have been filed in the Calcutta High Court to seek legal intervention in the case.
The chief minister said today, “How did it take you three or four days? Why did the victim’s family not inform you? You say, ‘When the police visited the spot, they refused to talk.’ What a typical excuse!”
“But when the CBI is visiting them, they speak up. How come?” Banerjee sounded exasperated with her police force.
“I received a statement from the Child Protection Commission and learnt that three or four different statements have come from them. Ask them to take these cases seriously at the local level. If not, what is the need to have ICs (circle inspector or inspector of the circle) if the ICs don’t work?”
Addressing the IC of Ranaghat, Sanjeev Senapati, Banerjee said, “Hanskhali is your area. That means you are guilty. You did not keep up with the news. It’s your negligence. By ‘guilt’, I mean negligence. It happened because of the negligence of the IC.”
In March, the whole nation was shaken by an incident of mob vigilantism involving two Muslim gangs affiliated with the Trinamool Congress where nine people were burned alive in their houses in Bogtui in Rampurhat of District Birbhum, following the killing of the local panchayat‘s deputy Bhadu Sheikh. That case had gone to the CBI too and 22 suspects were arrested.
Even in the Bogtui case, while the police should have known that a retaliatory action could be taken by the followers of Sheikh, whose father had been killed on the same spot a year ago, the cops were caught unawares when the gang set their rivals’ houses on fire.