The alleged rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in the Nadia district of West Bengal has caught national attention. The minor’s family has accused the son of Trinamool Congress Panchayat in the case. As per the police report, the girl was allegedly gangraped and then murdered. In the FIR filed by the police, a charge of evidence tampering has also been included apart from the relevant sections of the POCSO Act.
The Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee then made headlines for her problematic remark on the case. Banerjee while addressing the public asked, “Has she been raped, or was she pregnant, or was it a love affair? Has the media enquired? I heard it was a case of a love affair.” The Chief Minister asked the question when she was attending an inauguration event in Kolkata. The Director-General of Police, Manoj Malviya, was also present at the event. Banerjee addressed him and asked if the minor girl, who died after the alleged rape, was having a love affair with the accused son of Trinamool Congress leader.
The CM asked, “The body was cremated on the same day, and (as) a layperson I am saying this, where will the police find evidence?” She also said that if a girl and a boy fall in love, then it is not in her control to stop them. The Governor of West Bengal, Jagdeep Dhankar, tweeted that the investigation of the case is “tainted & compromised when people in authority & constitutional position indicate judgmental stance.”
The controversial remarks by the West Bengal CM was criticised by all quarters. With news media highlighting one statement after another made by politicians, the rape case seems to take a political shape instead of being a reminder of the harrowing state of women’s safety in the country. However, the fact that a politician’s son is involved in the case, Mamata Banerjee’s statement about the case being some sort of consequence of a “love affair” is sure to reach the people of India in different forms. If many see the problem with Banerjee’s statement, there is a possibility that a huge chunk of India’s population seconds her opinion and blames teenage girls for their own rape and murder.
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Nadia Rape and Murder Case:
As per reports, the minor, who was in Class9, had gone to the Trinamool Congress Leader, Samar Goala’s house to attend his son Braja Gopal Goala’s birthday party. When she went back to her home, she reportedly complained of severe abdominal pain and was bleeding profusely. Her mother in her statement to the media said, “..before we could take her to hospital, she died.” She also added that after talking to the people present at the birthday party and seeing the sequence of events, she was sure that her daughter was gangraped. The girl’s body was reportedly cremated in the early hours of April 6. The girl’s family has alleged that they were asked by the locals to cremate their daughter quickly.
The police report in the case was filed on April 9. The police filed the report invoking sections of rape, murder, destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code and sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). So far, the police has arrested the TMC leader’s son Braja Gopal Goala on Sunday and they also produced him in court on Monday. Goala has been sent to police custody for 14 days. Then the police arrested the accused’s friend Prabhakar Poddar on Tuesday after Goala’s statement. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been handed over the case for further probe, as per the orders of Calcutta High Court.
The Bharatiya Janta Party, which has faced its share of public outrage over the violence against women in Uttar Pradesh, formed a ‘fact-finding’ committee for the probe in the Nadia rape case. The committee has five women members, Rekha Verma, Baby Ranu Maurya, Vanathi Srinivasan, Khushbu Sunder and Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhary.
BJP candidate for Asansol Lok Sabha seat in her statement said, “I’m ashamed that being a woman and CM of the state Mamata Banerjee made shameful comments that it has to be seen if the rape victim (Nadia minor rape & murder case) had a love affair or that she was pregnant.”
Views expressed by author are their own.