The Madhyamgram double gangrape and murder of the 16 year old girl, abduction of the victim’s body and a tempts by police to forcibly cremate it has brought out once again the deeply misogynistic hostility towards victims of sexual assault and a ruthless oppression of all voices of dissent that has come to define the two-and-a-half year old TMC rule in West Bengal. The fact that a survivor of gang-rape was gang raped again while returning after lodging a complaint with the police and was later burnt to death reflects how extremely insecure and vulnerable the women have become under the Mamta Banerjee-led TMC rule. Not only did the state police fail to provide her with any security following her complaint, far from accepting its failure, it first tried to paint her brutal murder as an act of suicide and then shamefully hijacked the body and tried to cremate it without her family’s consent. When the aggrieved parents appealed for justice, the police reportedly told them to ‘go back to Bihar’, from where they originally belong.
The incident and the utter apathy of the administration has shocked the people of WB. On New Year’s Day, the victim’s father, who is a member of CITU, took part in a funeral procession organized by CITU and joined by representatives of all other central trade unions. On the same day, AISA along with other progressive students’ organizations took out a protest march from College Square condemning police’ role and administrative apathy. The march blocked the busy Esplanade crossing for some time. Several other protest marches and demonstrations were organized on the same day by concerned citizens, human rights groups and cultural organizations. An AIPWA delegation met the Women’s Commission on 3rd January. Comrades Meena Tiwari, Chaitali Sen, Divya Gautam (AISA leader from patna) and others from the delegation visited the girl’s parents. A street-corner meeting was held on the following day in front of Moulali Dargah. The meeting was addressed by Comrades Kavita Krishnan and Meena Tiwari among others. A candlelight march followed where local people and passers-by joined spontaneosly. Same day, AISA and AIPWA jointly protested in front of the Banga Bhavan in Delhi.
A protest meeting was held at Madhyamgram 4-point crossing on 5th January. Kavita Krishnan, Meena Tiwari, Partha Ghosh and others addressed the gathering. CPI(ML) called for observing an all-India Protest Day on 6th January. The day was observed in memory of the Madhyamgram victim and all other victims of gender violence, with local-level rallies and street-corner meetings in most of the districts. Students in Jadavpur University held a march condemning the whole incident and Govt’s role, on the 7th.
On the 9th of January, the CPI(ML) and AIPWA, AISA and RYA took out a massive protest rally from College Square to Dharmatala demanding a public apology from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and action against the Police Commissioner of Kolkata for the reprehensible role of the Kolkata Police in abduction and attempted cremation of the victim’s body, and the sacking of the Police Commissioner of Bidhan Nagar for failing twice to provide safety to the victim and trying to masquerade murder as self-immolation by keeping the victim’s dying declaration secret for a week. The rally also demanded the setting up of a fast-track court to ensure swift and exemplary punishment to the culprits of double rape, murder and those responsible for repeatedly threatening the victim and her family, and provision of adequate compensation and security to the grieving parents so that they can live their lives in safety and with dignity.
A week later another major protest was held in the College Square area jointly by Left trade unions, other mass organisations and prominent representatives of the Kolkata intelligentsia.