BARASAT/KOLKATA 20 JUNE: Residents of Kamduni, where a college student was brutally raped and murdered, have been living under perpetual fear after the villagers had a verbal spat with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee when she visited the area, but one thing has changed for the better. The village now has an electricity connection.
Miss Banerjee, who got into a fresh controversy over her verbal spat with the villagers, was quick to notice the absence of electricity in the area. The very next day, the village got electricity connection. Before this Kamduni plunged into darkness after sundown. The streets didn’t have lamps and people feared to venture out at night.
But the new electricity connection has not gone down that well with many locals, who are far from being fooled. They are questioning how it was possible for the administration and political parties to bring electricity within two days, when they had been demanding it for ages.
Meanwhile, some 3,500 women supporters of the Trinamul Congress today staged a protest rally, that started from Kamduni More and ended 2 km away near Kamduni high school, and demanded death sentence for the accused. The rallyists also visited the victim’s home.
Reportedly, local TMC members brought the women from outside Barasat. Sources said that the rally didn’t have any local women supporters as after the rape incident and the CM’s disastrous visit, people of Kamduni have confined themselves to their houses. A local woman said: “We are afraid of our CM after she termed one of us a Maoist when we went to talk with her. If we stage a protest again, the Maoist tag will never leave us. The CM’s comments have disappointed us. How could she call us Maoist or CPI-M?”
Meanwhile, a section of society and women organisations staged a meeting in Kolkata condemning the Barasat rape incident and demanding strict punishment for the culprits.
Tarun Sanyal, a TMC supporter, is now thinking of shifting allegiance to the CPI-M. “The CM visited the victim’s place, but she didn’t have the patience to listen to the grievances of the villagers. When she should have understood their problems, she called them CPI-M supporters… She sees red everywhere, even if they are not present. Maybe she wants the CPI-M to rule Bengal again. Well, if the CPI-M is preparing for it, I will support them,” said Mr Sanyal.
Actor and film-maker Aparna Sen, said: “It is sad that West Bengal tops the charts in crimes against women. The situation in village areas is worse with no street lights, proper roads. They don’t have proper schools. The CM’s attitude has changed towards rural people.”
The Trinamul Congress leadership today slammed tomorrow’s planned rally, with Mr Mukul Roy, the party’s all India general secretary, alleging that the organisers are trying to help the CPI-M to gain some mileage before the panchayat poll. Mr Roy said some of these intellectuals had taken to the street earlier during Left regime to protest against the state-sponsored terror. "But at present there is no such state sponsored terror," he said. Mr Roy also said these intellectuals never bothered to take out procession when Tapasi Mallik was rape and murdered.