West Bengal government draws flak from rights panel


KOLKATA: West Bengal government of the Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee Thursday drew flak from the state human rights panel here for inaction in an incident of rape, allegedly perpetrated by security personnel last year. The commission ordered a fresh probe and sought a report.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission ordered the West Midnapore district administration to initiate a fresh investigation into the rape of a woman allegedly by a joint team of central paramilitary force and state police, which was constituted in 2009 to fight Maoist insurgency.
 "It has been a year since the offence took place but the police have not been able to arrest anybody or make any headway in the case. In fact they are yet to register the complaint," Mr Sujay Haldar, joint secretary of the commission said.
 "So the commission has ordered the district administration to probe the matter and give a report within four weeks. The probe will be headed by Superintendent of Police (Jhargram police district in West Midnapore) Bharati Ghosh. A letter to the effect will be dispatched to her soon," said Mr Haldar.
 On Oct 14 last year, a joint team of security forces went to the house of Sushen Singha, a resident of Belpahari to arrest him. When they could not find Singha, the security personnel allegedly raped his wife.
 The victim later consumed poison to end her life but timely intervention by doctors saved her life. The police allegedly refused to register her complaint in spite of repeated efforts.
 "The police refused to register her complaint… Even the SP's office did not take her complaint. So we have asked the new SP to initiate the probe," added Mr Haldar.
 Ms Mamata Banerjee, who addressed a public meeting in Jhargram the very next day, had claimed that the allegations were baseless.
 "Whenever policemen enter the villages for investigation, a charge of rape is levelled against them," Ms Banerjee had said.
 This is the second time in a month that Ms Banerjee administration has received flak from the commission.
 Earlier this month, the commission had recommended disciplinary action against three police officers for dereliction of duty in connection with the rape of a teenaged girl in South 24 Parganas district.
 The commission had also directed that trio to pay a monetary fine that would be awarded as compensation to the victim.


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