statesman news service
KOLKATA/BARASAT, 12 JUNE: Relatives and neighbours of the rape victim of Barasat today erupted with seething anger when state law minister Chandrima Bhattacharya and Trinamul Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar visited the house to console the shattered family members. They insisted that chief minister Mamata Banerjee should meet the family at their residence.
The minister and the MP tried hard to persuade them to meet Miss Banerjee at Writers’ Buildings, but despite all efforts, the family members stood their ground that the chief minister should herself come to the area.
The minister, who was in tears at one stage, condemned the barbarous attack and assured the relatives and neighbours that immediate action would be taken against the culprits.
Eventually, two brothers of the victim and four area residents went to meet the chief minister in the evening and demanded “exemplary punishment and no job or compensation.”
The trip was accompanied by much tension and drama, with the two brothers returning mid-way after leaving for the state secretariat following protests by the neighbours who insisted the chief minister should come to the family&’s home.
Subsequently, state food minister Jyotipriya Mullick went to the victim’s house and persuaded a group of 40 residents of the area to accompany the brothers to the state secretariat.
But, there was fresh trouble after police prevented the entire group from entering Writers’ and instead allowed only six of them. Mr Mullick escorted the delegation of six. One of the brothers said: “We have come here to seek neither job nor compensation. We want death sentence for all those involved in the incident”.
During the hour-long meeting, Mr Mullick said the victim’s family members expressed their grief and Miss Banerjee assured action as soon as possible. Apart from Miss Banerjee, law minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, sports minister Madan Mitra, Mr Mullick and chief secretary Sanjay Mitra were present at the meeting.
A local resident said that demands for providing safe drinking water, uninterrupted power supply and construction of a police outpost were also placed before the chief minister.
Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a CBI investigation into the gangrape and murder at Barasat was admitted by the Division Bench of Mr Arun Mishra, Chief Justice and Mr Justice Joymalya Bagchi of Calcutta High Court today. The court directed the state government to file an affidavit-in-opposition in a week’s time.
The state government will appeal to the court for death penalty for the culprits, chief secretary Mr Sanjay Mitra said at Writers’ Buildings. The police would frame a charge-sheet and plead in the court for awarding maximum possible punishment.
He, however, said the Barasat gangrape and the unrelated assault on TV reporters the same day were stray incidents.
“We will try to ensure the accused persons are tried in a fast track court and appeal for stringent punishment, the death penalty, if necessary,” he said.
Criticising the intellectuals for not raising their voice in protest against the Barasat rape incident, Trinamul MP Prof Saugata Roy said that mindsets need to be changed.