Bengal rape survivors of post-poll violence narrate horror, move Supreme Court

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Horrific details of alleged gangrape have emerged after multiple women from West Bengal, including a minor girl, moved the Supreme Court, seeking a detailed probe into incidents of violence in the state during and after the recently held assembly election.

With the Supreme Court hearing petitions seeking an SIT probe into post-poll violence in Bengal, several intervention pleas have been moved by women who were allegedly attacked and gang-raped by workers of the ruling TMC.

In their pleas before the Supreme Court, these women have also sought a court-monitored CBI/SIT investigation into their cases.

Raped in front of grandson’: Bengal rape survivors reveal horrific details
Three separate applications have been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a SIT probe into sexual violence in the state. One of the applicants, a 60-year-old woman, revealed horrific details in her application.

In her plea, the 60-year-old Bengal woman has alleged that she was gang-raped in front of her six-year-old grandson, while her daughter-in-law was beaten up.

“On May 3, one day after the declaration of assembly poll results, the applicant’s house was surrounded by a large mob of about 100-200 people, comprising supporters of the Trinamool Congress Party and loud threats hurled at her asking her family to leave the house or else face consequences…The applicant’s daughter-in-law was mercilessly beaten grievously injuring her.”

“On May 4 around midnight at 12.30 am, five persons who were party workers of the Trinamool Congress came to the applicant’s house and forced their way in…The applicant was slapped, beaten, handcuffed and ties to her bed, as the criminals forced themselves on her,” the application stated and added that the woman was not only raped but also poisoned.

“The chain of events occurred in the presence of the applicant’s six-year-old grandson,” it added.

The woman claimed that after the horrific attack, which took place “in retaliation” against her family members who supported a different political party, the police initially refused to register an FIR.

She alleged that while historically there have been instances of “rape being employed to terrorise the enemy civilian population” during a war, it was being used in the state to “punish” those who support the party not in power.

Dragged to jungle, raped for more than an hour’
A group of four men dragged the two to a nearby jungle, where they assaulted the 17-year-old and raped her one by one for more than an hour, the application stated.

She claimed that she was “attacked and gang raped solely for her family’s political affiliations and religious beliefs”.

She, too, alleged police inaction and added that she was pressured to take back the FIR. The application alleged that local TMC leaders threatened her family.

In her plea before the Supreme Court, the 17-year-old alleged that she was sent to a child welfare home, and wasn’t allowed to meet her family.

Similar allegations were raised in a plea by a 19-year-old woman.

The victims have also claimed that the police and law enforcement agencies in the state “instead of conducting a fair investigation and sympathising with the victims,” are in fact “trying to shield powerful accused persons.”

They claim that the police had “tried to dismiss the heinous attacks as small and sporadic incidents”.

All applications by the alleged victims of sexual violence were filed in an ongoing PIL over violence in the state, filed by the families of BJP workers allegedly murdered during political clashes.

The petitions sought the transfer of the investigation in their cases to a Special Investigation Team and for the trial to be held outside of the state.

On May 25, the SC had issued a notice to the West Bengal government, NHRC, NCPCR, NCW, and the Centre, on a similar plea regarding the violence in the state during and after the elections.

The Bengal government had on May 25 informed the court that a five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court had already taken cognisance of the issue, and was hearing the pleas for the SIT investigation. The state government has claimed that FIRs have been registered and arrests have been made in the cases.

However, the National Human Rights Commission had informed the court that an “internal report” had been filed by its committee, which indicated that there were serious violations of human rights.

The matter is expected to be heard by the court on Tuesday.

Post-poll violence in West Bengal
Clashes were reported from several places in West Bengal following the declaration of assembly election results on May 2. Photos and video clips of alleged murders, arson, and ransacking of party offices had gone viral on social media. The BJP had also claimed that two of its workers were allegedly gang-raped by members of the Trinamool Congress.

This was, however, dismissed by the West Bengal Police. In a tweet, the West Bengal Police had termed the claims of gangrapes as ‘fake’.

In May, BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI investigation into “rampant violence” including murder and rapes allegedly by Trinamool Congress party workers across Bengal.

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