Gang rape fallout: Victim fights for life, SP removed

Suri/Darjeeling :  Yielding to mounting pressure, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday shunted out Birbhum Superintendent of Police for failing to seek police remand for 13 accused in the gang rape of a tribal woman that has sparked public outrage.

Gang rape fallout: Victim fights for life, SP removed

The 20-year-old woman was allegedly raped by more than a dozen men following the orders of a kangaroo court, which found her “guilty of having an affair with a man outside her community.”

The victim has said that among those who brutalized her were people old enough to be her father, including the village headman. The victim and her paramour were caught, tied to a tree and assaulted after which they were asked to pay a fine of Rs 50,000. The gang rape took place after the girl said that she was unable to pay.

“The morol (village headman) ordered that I be ‘enjoyed’ by the men of the village. Following his orders, at least 13 people, including (some) members of a single family, continuously raped me. I lost count of how many times I was raped,” said the victim.

The horrific incident happened on Monday night in Subalpur village, some 180 km from Kolkata. Villagers have denied the incident took place and are angry with the woman for reporting the matter to the police.

Hospital superintendent Asit Biswas said the woman was critical but stable. A medical board has been constituted to look after her. ”Though her condition continues to be critical, she is stable now. She has lost a lot of blood and only because she is physically and mentally very strong, she could survive the ordeal,” said an official at the hospital where she is being treated.

The incident has evoked strong response from several quarters, including governor M K Narayanan, who has demanded immediate corporal punishment for the culprits.

The local SP, C Sudhakar, was ordered to be removed by the chief minister within hours of the 13 persons being sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate. Top administration sources said that an explanation was being sought from the senior police officer for his refusal to seek the police remand of the accused

Incidentally, Banerjee herself looks after Home portfolio.

In Delhi, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari asked the state government to ensure “strictest punishment” for the culprits.    “In a democratic country, based upon the rule of law, no vigilantism can be permitted. West Bengal government must immediately arrest the accused and stringent punishment must be ensured,” he said.

West Bengal Women Commission Chairperson Sunanda Goswami said that the commission would order a probe into the incident on Friday.

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