Seeing hope in the Supreme Court’s act of accepting pleas of members of families of two of the BJP workers allegedly murdered by Trinamool Congress workers during the post-poll violence in West Bengal, many brutalised women are moving the apex court, narrating incidents of horrific gang-rape by ruling party members. They have sought SIT probe into all incidents of violence and the alleged inaction of police.
The women cited the Supreme Court’s “pro-active action” in post-Godhra communal riots cases in Gujarat, seeking a similar court-monitored SIT probe into incidents of gang rape and murder that went on with impunity for a fortnight in the state after Trinamool Congress scored a massive victory in the assembly election.
Of these women, a 60-year-old narrated the manner in which Trinamool Congress workers ran amok after the declaration of assembly election results, barged into her house in a village in East Medinipur and gang-raped her in front of her 6-year-old grandson before robbing her household of all valuables on the intervening night of 4-5 May.
The rape victim said, despite BJP winning from the constituency (Khejuri), a mob of 100-200 Trinamool Congress workers surrounded her house on 3 May and threatened to bomb it.
In fear, the daughter-in-law of the victim left the house the next day.
In the intervening night of 4-5 May, five Trinamool Congress workers barged into the house, assaulted her, tied her to a cot and then gang-raped her before her grandson, the woman alleged in her application before the Supreme Court.
The victim said that neighbours found her in an unconscious state the next morning and referred her 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 the complaint.
The victim said that Trinamool Congress workers used “rape as a weapon” to exact 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 the post-crime humiliation that the rape survivors were subjected to, for their perceived audacity in reporting the crime,” the victim pleaded.
“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,” the victim alleged and sought an investigation by SIT/CBI citing that the accused persons are members of the ruling party.
Bringing another gruesome incident of crime against women to the notice of the Supreme Court, a 17-year-old minor girl, a Scheduled Caste, moved the court, seeking an SIT or CBI investigation into her alleged gang rape by Trinamool Congress workers on 9 May and transfer of the trial outside the state. She said that first, some workers of the party ruling the state gang-raped her and left her to die in the jungle after dragging her to the place.
The next day, a local Trinamool Congress politician Bahadur SK came to this second victim’s house and threatened her family against lodging a complaint. He threatened to burn their house down and kill each one of them if they complained, she alleged in her application in the Supreme Court.
She said she was, as of now, in a child welfare home and her parents were 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 an independent probe.
In another case of crime against women, Purnima Mondal, whose husband Dharma Mondol some Trinamool Congress workers had allegedly killed during the post-poll violence, told the Supreme Court that “such is the vengeful nature of the violence that the applicant’s husband, who campaigned for BJP, was subsequently identified and assaulted with axes in broad daylight on 14 May.
“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 16 May.”
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.