Bengal post-poll violence: Gang rape survivors move SC for SIT probe

Bengal post-poll violence: Gang rape survivors move SC for SIT probe

Supreme Court. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) A 60-year-old woman and a 17-year-old minor girl from West Bengal have moved the Supreme Court alleging horrific gang-rape by Trinamool Congress workers, for their families supporting the BJP in recently-held Assembly election and sought an SIT probe into all incidents of post-poll violence. The 60-year-old woman alleged that she was raped in front of her 6-year-old grandson by Trinamool workers on the intervening night of May 4-5 and termed it "a glaring living example of the nature of post-poll violence unleashed throughout the state against family members of those who opposed the ruling party". The woman said on May 3, after declaration of poll results, a mob of 100-200 people, which mainly comprised of Trinamool supporters, surrounded her and asked the family to leave the house. "Despite the BJP having emerged victorious in the assembly constituency (Khejuri), workers of the ruling party in the state got infuriated and started burning down houses of BJP supporters, hurling bombs, even inflicting physical torture, and looting jewellery and other valuables," said the woman's application. The woman said that "while 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 added. The victim alleged that the police refused to register the case when her son-in-law tried to report the incident, and only after her daughter-in-law persisted, the FIR was filed. The woman was later treated at a hospital, where medical examination confirmed rape. Seeking an SIT probe, the woman said the "perversity"of the investigation 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. A 17-year-old minor girl from the Scheduled Caste community also approached the top court seeking SIT/CBI investigation into her alleged gang rape by Trinamool workers on May 9, when she was returning home with her friends. The victim claimed that she was raped by four Trinamool workers for more than an hour as a "lesson" for her family for supporting the BJP. The minor said after being raped, she was left to die in a forest, and the next day, a Trinamool member S. Bahadur came to her house and threatened her family members against filing a complaint. The victim asked the top court to shift the trial out of the state. "Such has been the conduct of local police/administration that instead of sympathising with her and family members, the police are pressuring her family saying their other daughter may face the same consequences," she said in the application. The applications were filed in a pending case by Biswajit Sarkar, the brother of deceased Bengal BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar, allegedly murdered in post-poll violence. In a response to the Sarkar's petition, seeking a CBI probe into post poll violence, the West Bengal government told the top court that no interference was required as the High Court was already seized of the matter. In an affidavit, the West Bengal government contended that the allegations were misleading and politically motivated. The Supreme Court had issued notice on Sarkar's plea, and it will take up the matter on Tuesday.

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