The girl whose death months after she was gang-raped has sparked a major political controversy in West Bengal, lived with her family in Madhyamgram on the city’s northern fringes.
She had been gang-raped twice, the second incident occurring when she was returning with her parents after filing the complaint about the first assault. The 16-year old girl who suffered severe burns succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday afternoon, but it was only late that evening that the incident began taking an ugly turn after her family members alleged that police had forcibly taken the body to the city crematorium against the family's plans to keep it at a funeral parlour, and that they had with difficulty managed to bring the body back.
Public angst over the entire incident rose after the police made public that contrary to earlier reports that the girl had committed suicide following harassment by her tormentors, she had been actually set ablaze.
Describing the incident of the police attempt to “hijack” the body as “unheard of,” Dr. Mishra alleged the hand of the Home Minister, a department under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee while the State Left Front Committee chairperson sought to know on whose directions the police had tried “forcible cremation.”
Demanding Ms. Banerjee’s resignation, State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should probe the case.
“It is quite obvious that the police tried to forcibly cremate the victim’s body to suppress evidence and that is why we are demanding a CBI probe. The Chief Minister should resign for her failure to ensure safety of women in the State,” he added.
Describing the incident as “atrocious and unprecedented,” he said that not only was the victim gang-raped twice but she and her family was constantly harassed by her tormentors.
Defending the government, Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy said that the CPI(M) and others were trying every moment to “belittle the State” in the eyes of the country. “Those who have been unseated from power will indulge in a campaign to malign the State government,” Mr. Roy said, adding that the accused in the case had already been arrested, and a charge sheet has been filed.
The Opposition is all set to launch a movement against the government on the issue. Both the CPI(M) and Congress have given a call for rallies and demonstration to condemn the incident on Thursday.
The Trinamool government had earlier faced severe criticism over crimes against women in the State. Last year in June, the alleged gangrape and murder of a 21-year-old college student at Kamaduni village in North 24 Parganas district provoked widespread protests, with not just political parties but also civil society groups expressing concern.