A comment made by Trinamool Congress MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar questioning the character of the victim of an alleged rape by dismissing the incident as “a misunderstanding” between “a woman and her clients” evoked a strong reaction from the victim here on Friday. She condemned the politicisation of her struggle for justice.
“If you are referring to the Park Street case, it was a different case altogether. It was a misunderstanding between two parties involved in a professional dealing. So this was not a rape,” Ms. Dastidar told a national television channel.
Questioned about her remarks by a Bengali news channel, the MP blamed the national television channel for “playing a different reply in response to a different question” before she hung up.
Disturbed by the remarks made by Ms. Dastidar, the 37-year-old mother of two who was allegedly raped in a moving vehicle near Park Street here in February, said instead of coming together and standing by rape victims, the issue was being politicised.
“What are they trying to do with my case? Ten months after the incident, they are calling me a sex worker,” the victim told The Hindu, adding that she has been “vindicated” in the course of the police investigations.
She said what appalled her was that “an educated, empowered woman, who has been elected to Parliament to represent us,” made the remarks.
The victim said it was no secret that she owned a business, which failed in January this year, stressing that there should not be any doubt about what she did for a living.
“Even if I were a sex worker, does that mean that sex workers can be raped and deserve no justice? All I want is justice. Can someone be raped at gun-point in this way,” she asked.
The woman said the very fact that the main accused in the case was still absconding was clearly an indication that he was a criminal on the run and it was not an instance of a “misunderstanding between two parties involved in a professional dealing.”
“This is not a time to make it personal. This is a time for politicians to come together and use this to address a serious issue. Instead, they are using us in their petty squabbles, fighting like little children. We have already gone through enough pain,” she said.
Referring to the gang rape victim in Punjab who committed suicide after police failed to act on her complaint, the woman wondered whether she and the other rape victims awaiting justice would have to commit suicide before something is done.