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Hours after Nandigram rape victim's vote robbed by CPM, her brother killed

Hours after Nandigram rape victim's vote robbed by CPM, her brother killed

Author: Bidyut Roy
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: May 9, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hours-after-nandigram-rape-victims-vote-rob/456625/

Introduction: Victim took shelter in brother's house, says CPM put pressure on him to withdraw rape case

Hours after Sabina Begum (name changed to protect her identity), a Nandigram rape victim, was intimidated and not allowed to vote yesterday, alleged CPM cadres raided the house of her brother, 50-year-old Yaseen Meer, and hacked him to death.

As first reported in The Indian Express today, it was at her brother's house that Sabina had sought shelter when she wasn't allowed to enter the Satengabari primary school polling booth despite a valid Election Commission card with a valid number (withheld to protect her identity).

She and her husband had fled their home after Sabina was allegedly raped by a gang of CPM cadres during the violent Operation Recapture in November 2007 in the wake of the SEZ land acquisition controversy. Yesterday, they walked 10 km to their polling booth where they were turned back by CPM cadres and not allowed to vote.

Her brother, Yaseen, a daily labourer and a supporter of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, had also received threats but he ignored these, cast his vote yesterday - and paid with his life. The Trinamool Congress has called a 12-hour Nandigram bandh tomorrow to protest against what it calls police inaction.

Sabina claimed there was more to her brother's murder than political vendetta. "Those who attacked my brother's house last night included some who sexually assaulted me in November 2007. They put pressure on my brother asking him to get me to withdraw my rape case," she told The Indian Express today.

Of the five named she mentioned in her rape FIR, four are at large, one was arrested but later released on bail.

According to Yaseen's wife, Hasina Bibi, CPM cadres kept a watch on their house since morning and saw that Sabina and her husband had taken shelter there.

Soon after Yaseen returned home in the evening after dropping Sabina off at her house in Samsabad village, the cadres came calling. "They first picked up a quarrel and then beat him with sticks, later two of them stabbed him.

Yaseen was bleeding profusely," said Hasina, who claimed she witnessed the murder.

Yaseen was taken to Tamluk hospital where he was declared dead. Hasina lodged a complaint with the Nandigram police station and named, among others, Touhid, Hasanur and Kalu Bachchu - all known CPM men in Satengabari.

Said Pallab Kanti Ghosh, SP of East Midnapore: "They are saying miscreants are from the CPM but I cannot say at this moment." He said that in another incident in the same village, a child died of gunshot wounds and her mother, Ali Bibi, was admitted to hospital with gunshot injuries. The attackers in this incident were also alleged CPM cadres.

When asked if there was any connection between Sabina's rape case and her brother's murder, the SP declined to comment.

Nandigram Block Development Officer Anirban Chattopadhyay said he had ordered an inquiry to "ascertain the circumstances under which she (Sabina) could not cast her vote yesterday despite having valid EC identity cards."

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