Thirteen persons accused in the gang rape of a young tribal woman on the orders of a kangaroo court at Subalpur in West Bengal were produced in the subdivisional court on Friday and remanded in police custody till February 6.
Even as the incident sent shock waves across the State, there is a sense of disquiet in Subalpur, with reports saying that some men had left the village fearing more arrests by the police.
But there are also those who maintain that no sexual assault was committed and no such order was given though the kangaroo court was convened by the local headman of a tribal community to punish the woman.
Charge against Trinamool
In another development, the victim’s brother on Friday told local journalists that Trinamool Congress workers were among those present at the kangaroo court.
Asked for his comment, the party’s district unit president Anubrata Mondal told The Hindu over telephone: “The allegation is totally false; I can guarantee that there were no Trinamool workers there.”
The accused were meanwhile produced in the subdivisional court during the day. “Police custody of the accused was sought on grounds that crucial evidence such as the clothes of the accused along with other material evidence like the rope with which she was tied to a tree need to be recovered,” public prosecutor Feroze Kumar Pal told The Hindu.
When defence counsel asked why the police did not seek custody on Thursday, when the accused were brought to the court, Mr. Pal said the investigating officer in the case was too busy ensuring that the victim gets admitted to a hospital and receives proper treatment.
Commending the police for “effectively handling the situation,” Minister for Women and Child Development Sashi Panja, who visited the woman in the hospital, said: “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has empowered the police administration to spring into action in such cases and that is what has happened here.”
Meanwhile, doctors said that though the victim complained of pain in the abdomen, she was in a stable condition.