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Varanasi
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Bengal: Picknicker gang-raped in Muslim-dominated Basirhat on New Year’s Day; six arrested

While Mamata Banerjee goes about claiming how BJP-ruled states are unsafe for women, yet another shocking case of gang-rape of a woman in the Muslim-dominated Basirhat constituency has shaken the state on the occasion of New Year. 

As per reports, armed criminals had attacked a group of people returning from a New Year’s celebratory picnic in the Taki area, in the Basirhat subdivision. The group comprised of local businessmen and their families. The incident took place at around 9 PM on Saturday, January 1. The criminals jammed the road on the Basanti Highway, near Bamunpukur. They stopped the van of the picnickers and started to beat up the driver. They robbed them of cash and other valuables and asked the picnickers to evacuate the vehicle. They then hijacked the van forcefully holding one of the women members hostages and drove off. 

“The criminals blocked my way with their car and dragged me out of the cabin and began beating me up. They also snatched the keys to my vehicle, damaged it, asked passengers to move out, and beat them up before looting their cash. They fled from the spot with the woman inside the vehicle who could not come out. They hijacked the van along with her,” informed the van driver. 

The woman was gang-raped at gun-point near the Basanti highway in Minakhan and abandoned by the road. Hours after the robbers had fled the spot, residents of the Kumarjal area spotted the victim lying by the road. They rescued her and rushed her to the hospital. 

“The criminals first said we damaged their car. But, it was only a ploy to hijack our vehicle, as they soon began beating us up and fled with our van,” shared one of the relatives.

The police started a probe into the matter. Senior police officials of the Basirhat police district had visited the crime spot and basing their investigations on the information provided by the victim, started a combing operation through the Kumarjal area of Minakhan. Early morning on Sunday, January 2, police arrested six people for their participation in the loot and gang-rape of the woman. 

All the detainees, namely Salam Sardar, Habibur Mollah, Shariful Gazi, Surajit Mondal, Bakibillah Tarafdar, and Rakibul Islam are in their mid-20s and were reportedly enjoying their picnic close to where their victims were partying. They noticed them and started stalking the woman from that spot. 

The police produced them before the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court in Basirhat, where they were sentenced to 12 days of police custody.

An officer at the Minakhan police station shared, “Initially, it was a problem among two picnic parties, but turned into a crime in which a woman was allegedly raped. We have received a complaint from the victim. A case has been registered and the accused have been arrested. We are examining all possible angles.”

The victim will be taken to court after she recuperates and her statement will be recorded before a magistrate.

State Women’s Commission chairperson Leena Gangopadhyay was completely oblivious to the horrific incident. She said, “I came to know about it through you. I am far away from Kolkata. Some people have become impossibly adventurous. They think they are above the law. But the whole thing is still not clear to me. I will find out. Report to police. They will take appropriate action.”

Interestingly, Basirhat MP Nusrat Jahan has so far not uttered a word on this appalling crime against a woman that took place in her constituency on New Year’s day. A lot has been said about having female representation in the parliament. But given the silence, obliviousness, and indifference of such female representatives on the sufferings of other women in their constituency, it will not be completely untrue if we said this female MP from Bengal has been an absolute failure. 

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