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Sunday, June 4, 2023

15-year-old gang-raped, ASI arrested for molestation in separate incident: WB

Two shocking incidents have been reported from West Bengal which show the distressing law & order situation, especially with regards to women’s safety, in the state.

A class 9 student in West Bengal’s Purba Bardhaman district was gang-raped on Thursday, December 16, in the Bhatar police station area when the 15-year-old had gone to the market. As per official sources, she was offered a ride on an e-Rickshaw by a driver known to her. On the way, another man got into the e-rickshaw. She was then taken to a deserted place and gang-raped by the driver and his accomplice. 

The girl returned to the market and informed the locals about the incident who then informed the girl’s family who lodged a police complaint. The driver of the e-Rickshaw has been detained while a hunt is going to nab the other accused, informed officials. The rape-accused driver was produced before Bardhaman POCSO Court and has been sent for three-day custody. The minor is now receiving treatment at Bhatar Hospital.

The identities of the two rapists have not been revealed as yet.

In the second case, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Sandip Pal and a civic police volunteer Abhishek Malakar have been arrested after a woman lodged a complaint of molestation against them at the Kasba police station in the early hours of Saturday, December 11.

The incident took place along the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass when the 24-year-old victim, a resident of Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman district, arrived at Karunamoyee bus terminus in Salt Lake at around 11:30 PM on December 10. While her co-passengers booked cabs and dispersed, she was unable to book a cab for over an hour. Left stranded in a new city she started to seek help from people because of lack of transportation.

Reportedly, the woman approached the policemen at around 1 AM and requested them to help her. They offered her a lift on a motorcycle, but she was taken towards Ultadanga and the police duo started to molest her in the moving bike. When she protested, they dropped her at a desolate place and left.

The victim has registered a complaint with the police; she told that she had come to Kolkata for a job interview and was supposed to put up with a friend for a couple of days. As the bus reached Kolkata late, she couldn’t get any transportation to her friend’s accommodation at Garfa.

She first spotted a civic volunteer who was riding a bike and approached him. He gave her a lift and rode towards Bidhan Nagar and then called the ASI over the phone. She stated that the ASI had forced her to sit between both the men and then the molestation started. 

The Kasba police approached the Bidhan Nagar city police for further investigation in this case and an enquiry was launched to find out which all officials were posted in that location during the time of the crime. Footages of security cameras installed along the EM Bypass were also checked. Eventually, ASI Sandip Pal and civic police volunteer Abhishek Malakar were traced out. Both were immediately suspended; sources from the police have confirmed that Pal and Malakar have also been arrested based on the FIR lodged by the victim at Kasba Police Station. 

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar had accused the TMC of turning the West Bengal capital into a lawless city. “The arrests have proved that contrary to claims made by the TMC, Kolkata is not a safe place for women,” he asserted.

No TMC leader commented on the incident till last reports. It must be highlighted that CM Mamata Banerjee is also the Home Minister of the state. Instead of working to provide security for her own state’s residents, she has been occupied in her political tours of Goa where her MP Mohua Moitra said that Goa is ‘not safe for women’. 

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