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'Revenge' rears its ugly head

'Revenge' rears its ugly head

Author: Asim Pramanik
Publication: The Statesman
Date: May 27, 2009

Minor girls, aged women and housewives of Muslim minority families were raped allegedly by gangs of armed policemen including jawans of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) who were desperate to avenge the killing of their colleague, Gopal Mondal, a sub-inspector of Raninagar police station, in Murshidabad on 16 May. This is unprecedented in the crime history of West Bengal and much more horrendous than reported police atrocities of Nandigram, alleged a Kolkata-based human rights organisation, MASUM, which today organised a number of rape victims to file a petition before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here. The CJM court at Behrampore today conducted in-camera proceedings and recorded statements made by suspected rape victims. The petition charging the armed policemen and RAF personnel with gangrape, molestation and other forms of atrocity is likely to put on trial the SP, Murshidabad, Dr BL Meena, and OC, Raninagar police station because they were at the command of the security personnel who unleashed a reign of terror since the midnight raid on 16 May leaving the entire village deserted by male, female and children, said Mr Kirity Roy, secretary of MASUM. Mr Roy asserted that the village, Charbathanpara, is the only place in the state where women and girls were raped only by policemen whereas in Nandigram police personnel were accompanied by cadres belonging to the ruling party.

''Three RAF jawans raped J. Bibi in presence of her father who kept on crying for help but there was none to listen to his cry except some policemen who guarded and overpowered him making him unable to move'', narrated Mr Roy.

The human rights body also submitted a list of rape victims to the District Magistrate, Murshidabad today.

Media reports and visit of two local MPs to Charbathanpara village revealed that the entire village was deserted by its residents following physical torture by policemen who went berserk when their colleague Gopal Mondal was murdered by some armed miscreants soon after the Lok Sabha poll results were declared in the evening of 16 May. "The rape victims were tight-lipped because of the policemen terrorising the village. I had to work there at my life-risk'", said Mr Gopen Shrama, the local activist of MASUM, while explaining the delay to lodge complaints. An independent inquiry was demanded by MASUM.

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