On Friday (April 21) morning, the dead body of a 17-year-old Dalit girl was discovered floating in a canal in North Dinajpur district’s Kaliaganj area. The kins of the victim allege that the teenager was raped before being murdered. The girl had gone missing on her way to tuition classes on Thursday.
Police have arrested two individuals, including one Javed Akhtar, whom the victim knew.
Meanwhile, angry locals along with the victim’s family members blocked a road with her body, demanding justice for the victim and strict punishment for the culprits, alleging it was a case of gang rape. Police reached the spot and started raining lathis and tear gas on the locals to disperse them. Some media houses like The Indian Express reported that the protesters pelted the police with bricks which led to a lathi charge.
Several people were reportedly injured in the incident while police detained several from the spot. A large contingent of police personnel was deployed in the area to avoid escalation.
According to the district SP, Sana Akhtar, two people have been arrested based on a complaint filed by the deceased’s relatives. Concerning the lathi charge and use of tear gas shells, he stated that it was necessary to do so in order to obtain the victim’s body and conduct the postmortem as quickly as possible in order to avoid the loss of critical evidence.
After the incident, the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the state assembly Suvendu Adhikari alleged that the police didn’t allow the BJP MLAs to meet the victim’s family. He also accused the police of “diluting” the evidence.
Pointing out the West Bengal police’s apathy and highhandedness, the BJP leader shared a video wherein the West Bengal police were seen dragging the victim’s body in an apathetic manner.
Taking to Twitter, Adhikari said, “The BJP MLAs weren’t allowed to visit the victim’s family & were involuntarily taken to a Police Station & made to sit there forcefully, because how else would WB Police suppress information & dilute evidence. They’re dragging the victim’s body in such undignified manner”.
Questioning the law and order situation in the state, Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari tweeted, “Sorry state of Law & Order situation in WB as WB Police is busy with making security arrangements for ‘Bhaipo’s Nabajowar’. Unfortunately the common people; especially women are paying the price. The perpetrators are getting emboldened due to the inaction of the state government.”
Meanwhile, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo tweeted that a fact-finding team will be visiting there to conduct an investigation. “The NCPCR has taken note of reports of gang rape and murder of a Dalit girl child in Raiganj, West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district,” he tweeted.
The NCPCR chief alleged that the Chief Secretary of the state and the North Dinajpur Collector are not responding despite the body informing them about the incident.
“We have received the info about the alleged rape and murder of a girl in Kaliyaganj in North Dinajpur and we are going to investigate it. It is very saddening that we informed about this incident to the chief secretary of the state govt and the collector of North Dinajpur in the afternoon, but we have not received any reply yet. We are trying for justice for the girl,” the NCPCR chief was quoted as saying by the news agency ANI.
Note: This news article originally published in OpIndia has been republished here with permission.