A 13-year-old girl was drugged and gang-raped for hours in Ratua of West Bengal’s Malda district on Friday, September 17. Family members of the minor have lodged a report with the local police against three unidentified individuals, who fled the spot of crime after the incident. The condition of the victim is reportedly stable.
In a video interview given to a local Bengali YouTube-based news channel, the victim has narrated the blood cuddling atrocities that she had undergone at the hands of the assaulters. She was dragged into a vehicle, drugged, rendered unconscious, and raped by multiple men, multiple times over 7 hours. She was left by the road and somehow managed to return home upon regaining consciousness and narrated her ordeal to her family members.
The father of the victim has alleged that the police had arrested a man but released him after a while in exchange for some money. The father has also claimed the accused are activists or workers of the ruling TMC party and demanded that the perpetrators be awarded death sentence. Local media suggests that police is unable to take any stern actions against the miscreants due to their association with the ruling party.
The opposition also accused the police of not taking any action against the rapists due to their alleged closeness to TMC leaders. “If action was taken on time, the suspects would have been arrested by now. If they are not nabbed soon, we will launch an agitation,” said Gobinda Chandra Mondal, BJP’s Malda district president.
The TMC leadership, as is usually their wont in such case, has brushed off the issue, ignoring the girl’s father’s statement and blaming the BJP for making ‘false allegations’.
The double standards of mainstream media and so-called liberal civil society was again evident in their silence on this heinous crime. Even the mere allegation of rape in a case like the Hathras tragedy of UP gets relentless media attention, becomes a debate point in national discourse, triggers hashtags on social media and politicians from all over the country jump into the fray. All because UP is ruled by a certain Yogi Adityanath, who also happens to be a BJP leader.
On the other hand, the coating of secularism protects Mamata Banerjee’s rogue administration from even a fraction of the same scrutiny. Actress-turned-politician Koushani Mukherjee who had infamously made the “mother-sister” jibe at a BJP supporter at her election rally is nowhere to be found after this ghastly crime and it will not be surprising if the lady pretends to be completely unaware about it.
Where are the intellectuals of Tollywood and Bengali literature who are otherwise always prepared to raise their voice against any crime in a BJP-ruled state? Is the fear of the TMC matriarch stifling their bravado?
In the past few years, Malda district has emerged as the rape capital of West Bengal. But the fourth pillar of democracy has not summed up the guts to address this issue. Media’s focus appears to be to create a goddess-like image of Mamata Banerjee to advance her chances as a PM candidate in the next general election. Let’s look at some of the shocking rape cases from Malda during Mamata’s reign:
- A deaf and mute girl was raped in Malda; the assaulter also attempted to kill her, but failed and fled. A complaint about this case has been lodged at the Manikchak Police station.
- In June this year, a young tribal woman was allegedly abducted and gang-raped in Malda’s Habibpur. Her mother suffered a heart attack when she learnt about the incident and died.
- In December 2019, a woman’s charred body was recovered from a mango orchard in the Malda district. Sources in the police department had confirmed that the deceased was in her 20s and was raped before being murdered.
- Another harrowing case was of the gang rape of three minors, all students of class 7, 8 and 9, who were targeted when they had gone out pandal hopping on the Saraswati puja in 2015.
TMC and Congress leaders can just shrug their shoulders and trot out excuses like ‘false allegation’, ‘routine law & order issue’ and hardly anyone in mainstream media dares to grill them. Those who do, like Arnab Goswami did with Sonia and MVA, are persecuted viciously and hauled off to jail, yet the media governing bodies like Editor’s Guild or NBSA stay silent and judiciary remains apathetic.