The son of a Trinamool Congress gram panchayat member was arrested on Sunday for the gang-rape of a minor (14) that led to her death on April 5 in Hanskhali block, Nadia district of West Bengal.
A Times of India report (archive link) says that according to the FIR lodged on Saturday by the victim’s father, the Class IX student had gone to attend the birthday party of TMC panchayat member Samar Goali’s son Sohel in Hanskhali’s Gajna village on Monday, April 4. Some other outlets like Indian Express and Anand Bazar Patrika have given the TMC leader’s son’s name as Brajgopal Goali (21).
The girl returned home in the early hours of Tuesday, feeling severely ill and suffering from excessive bleeding, her family said. It is believed that she was forced to drink alcohol and then raped by the accused and his friends.
The minor’s father said that she was dropped home by a woman and unidentified men. He added that they were threatened and intimidated against taking the child to any government hospital or reporting the matter to police.
Her father took her to a local quack but she died in the afternoon. The victim was cremated in haste on the same day at a local crematorium, allegedly at the insistence of the Goalis. One report says that the body was burned after pouring kerosene to ensure no evidence survives. A worker of the crematorium where the body was cremated has not been traced since the incident.
The victim’s family feared approaching police as Samar Goali is known for his illegal acts and has the reputation of being a local strongman. Both father and son are alleged to carry illegal guns. Finally, the family were able to lodge a complaint with the help of the Nadia district Childline.
The FIR has been registered under sections of 376(2)(G) (gangrape), 302 (murder), 204 (tampering with evidence) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Ranaghat additional police superintendent Rupantar Sengupta said one accused had been detained. Sengupta said they were probing all angles, including the four-day delay in lodging the FIR.
Samar Goali is on the run with the rest of his family.
Hathras vs Hanskhali
This shocking incident has not elicited a fraction of the coverage and commentary which the murder of an adult SC girl in Hathras, UP had. The girl was in a relationship with a boy from the same village, which their families opposed due to an old dispute. Initial reports suggested that the girl had met the boy in a field while cutting grass and this was spotted by her mother and brother. What followed is not clear, but in initial videos of the victim and her family they did not mention any sexual assault, and only spoke of the girl being strangled. Forensic reports also showed no rape.
After her condition deteriorated, she was shifted to a Delhi hospital where she died. Her body was brought back to her village and cremated with the family’s consent, but left-liberal activists tried to twist even that cremation. In a death-bed video, the girl alleged that she had been gang-raped by 4 ‘upper caste’ men. Later, evidence emerged of how the family was coached and a Naxalite activist had even infiltrated and was pretending to be the victim’s bhabhi (sister-in-law). Bhim Army and PFI were found trying to incite caste violence over the matter, and entire English-language media camped out at the village, with some like Tanushree Pandey of India Today openly trying to manipulate the victim’s family.
Yet, the high-intensity, sustained media coverage, protests by all political parties (protests were held by Dalit outfits as far as Maharashtra) and condemnation by intelligentsia and celebrities ensured that the case was branded the ‘Hathras gangrape and murder’, and handed over to CBI which duly filed a chargesheet against four accused for gangrape and murder.
The skewed and utterly Hinduphobic attitude of our elites and polity can be judged from the different way in which both these cases are looked at and discussed. West Bengal today has become a killing field of innocent people – mostly Hindus, but even Muslims are not spared in TMC factional fights as we saw in Rampurhat. Most cases don’t even make it to local Bengali media, forget coming into the national discourse, due to terror of the fascist TMC administration and Mamata Banerjee.
We can only hope that this case is different and the Hanskhali minor victim and her family get justice, which has become so rare in Bengal these days.