The National Commission for Women (NCW) will recommend the President of India and the Union home minister to take initiatives to conduct investigations by an independent agency on alleged atrocities on women in the Hills in relation to the fresh bout of violent Gorkhaland agitation that happened last year.
As she wrapped up her three-day visit to the Hills on Wednesday, Chairperson of the commission Rekha Sharma further said that the commission would summon senior police officers of the region, as she failed to meet them, because they were on leave during her visit.
Ms Sharma alleged that the inquiry into the purported phone conversation between a police officer and a resident of Ging in Darjeeling was an eyewash.
In the recorded telephonic conversation, the voice at one end, purportedly that of Darjeeling Police IC Soumyajit Roy, threatened the man that his house would be torched and his mother and sister would be raped.
“I will submit my findings to the President of India and the home minister in a week, along with a few recommendations, including independent investigations into atrocities on women perpetrated by the administration. I will also send my reports to the West Bengal chief minister,” Ms Sharma said in Siliguri on Wednesday.
Ms Sharma met around 150 complainants, most of them women, who alleged police excesses during the 104-day-long shutdown in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts last year.
The NCW chief said she could not meet the North Bengal inspector general of police and the Darjeeling superintendent of police, as they were on leave.
“The commission will summon the duo, along with former Kalimpong SP, who was posted here during the agitation, as we need to know many things from them,” she added.
Talking about allegations levelled against the Darjeeling police officer, she said the administration did nothing on this matter. “The officer could have been suspended at least, as investigations proceeded. The probe was just an eyewash,” she said.
Women trafficking on, says Sharma Meanwhile, Ms Sharma sought to differ on statements earlier made by the West Bengal Commission for Women that there were no official reports of women being trafficked from tea gardens of north Bengal in the last eight months.
The NCW chairperson also raised questions on the manner the state commission functions. “There are reports that women are being trafficked in the region, and we have also received complaints in this regard. In many cases, parents are not aware of the whereabouts of their daughters,” Ms Sharma said here on Wednesday.
State commission chairperson Leena Gangopadhyay had said during her visit to Siliguri Special Correctional Home on 6 April that there were no official reports of women being trafficked from the tea gardens in the last eight months (during her tenure). Ms Gangopadhyay had visited some closed tea plantations in the Terai and the Dooars.
“How can the commission function independently when MLAs representing the state government are its members?” she said. It may be mentioned that there is only one MLA and one MP in the 11-member state commission for women.