Friday, January 24, 2014


NEW DELHI: The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on January 21 and 22, 2014. It has issued the following statement on West Bengal:

The Polit Bureau expresses serious concern at the number of gang-rapes and crimes against women in West Bengal. This has been exemplified by the horrific double gang rape of a sixteen year old girl at Madhyamgram and her subsequent murder. West Bengal has registered the highest number of crimes against women in the country in the years 2011-12.

The Polit Bureau condemned the callous attitude and the failure of the Trinamul Congress government to take swift action against the culprits and effective steps to curb such crimes against women.

The ruling TMC continues with its rampage against democratic rights. All elected bodies and institutions are being subverted. Currently elections are being held to the college unions. Out of the 222 college union elections held so far, in most of them students of organisations opposed to the ruling party’s student organisation were not allowed to file nominations. Only in 36 colleges were they able to do so partially.

The Polit Bureau strongly condemned the murder of Saifuddin Mollah, a 25 year old SFI leader who was brutally beaten to death by TMC goons in Baruipur in South 24 Parganas.

Given the notorious record of the ruling party in rigging elections and preventing voters from casting their votes, the Election Commission should take special measures to ensure a fair and peaceful election.

Massive Rally in Coochbehar

COOCHBEHAR, 11th January, 2014: WEST Bengal witnessed semi-fascist terror in seventies what Tripura witnessed in mid-eighties in the name of separatism. But such terror cannot sustain for long as was proven in both Bengal and Tripura. So the terror that Trinamool Congress is currently unleashing in West Bengal today is bound to be defeated by the people, asserted Tripura chief minister and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Manik Sarkar while addressing a massive Left Front rally in Coochbehar.

Sarkar reminded the audience about the severe terror unleashed against the Left in Tripura during the later eighties in the name of separatist movement. The Congress party reduced the then state assembly elections into a farce, rigging them openly and manipulating the counting process also resulting in the defeat of the Left Front in the recount. But within five years, in the next election, the people defeated this politics of terror and gave a massive mandate in favour of the Left Front. In West Bengal too, Siddhartha Shankar Ray could not sustain his government in the face of people’s anger, remarked the Tripura chief minister.

Addressing the gathering, Left Front chairman Biman Basu said that in the span of last two and half years, the situation in West Bengal has gone down to a deplorable condition. Welfare activities have suffered as there is brazen loot of money. The so-called symbol of honesty has now become the symbol of Saradha chit fund company. He contrasted this with the Left Front’s record of never compromising on corruption and malpractices. He charged that the Trinamool Congress government of perpetrating massive corruption in SJDA and in the recruitment of primary teachers. Now farmers are not getting remunerative prices for rice and jute. Distress sale of rice, jute and other products is gradually increasing. Farmer suicides, unheard of during Left Front regime, have become the order of the day. Atrocities against women have shot up in West Bengal, earning it the dubious distinction of reaching the number one position in the country in this regard. An unprecedented attack on democratic and individual rights of people has been unleashed in the state by the Trinamool Congress government, he charged.

Basu called for a larger people’s unity in the state to combat the present situation. He said the Left Front had accepted people’s verdict in 2011 election. But the incessant attacks unleashed against the opposition and the common people has compelled it to launch protests against the atrocities.

In his address, Forward Bloc leader Udayan Guha slammed the state government for refusing to agree to a CBI inquiry into the biggest Saradha ponzy scam since independence. He said if Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar could seek CBI enquiry into an issue in Tripura why cannot the West Bengal government. The fact that many associates in the government are all involved in this scam could be the reason behind its reluctance, he felt.

CPI leader Srikumar Mukherjee said that an alternative force has to be formed to keep both thte Congress and the BJP away from power at the centre.

RSP leader Nirmal Das said that the present rulers are the biggest plunderers in West Bengal. People won’t tolerate such anarchy, terror and corruption, he felt.

CPI(M) district secretary Tarini Roy said that Trinamool Congress cadre tried to forcibly prevent people from attending the meeting in different parts of the district. (INN)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mamata and her fresh war with the media

IANS  |  Kolkata  
 Last Updated at 16:06 IST

Known to share a love-hate relation with the media,  Chief Minister  has now courted a new controversy with her government restricting free movement of mediapersons to various departments at Nabanna, the new secretariat in neighbouring Howrah.
The administration has issued an order - Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in official jargon - that is being seen as an attempt to confine mediapersons to the press corner on the first floor of the 14-storey building, which now serves as the seat of governance with the permanent secretariat "Writers' Buildings" under renovation.
The order makes it clear that journalists will not be allowed to enter any of the government departments without prior permission of the authorities concerned.
While access to the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) was already restricted, the latest curb has created resentment among the journalists who, using the accreditation cards issued by the state, enjoyed full access to the secretariat so long.
The order, which lays down the SOP regarding movement of mediapersons inside the secretariat, comes in the form of a missive to the information and cultural affairs department from A K Biswas, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Reserve Force), which handles security of Nabanna. It was circulated among the mediapersons earlier this week.
"Mediamen are supposed to remain only at the press corner on the first floor... until and unless they are informed or allowed by competent authority to go to any of the department at Nabanna for a photo session or a press briefing," the order says.
In what is being construed as a form of warning, the order claims any entry of mediamen to any other part of Nabanna without approval of the competent authority for the purpose of media coverage is "literally breach of the SOP and also prejudicial to security of the VIPs and official secrecy of various departments of the government".
The order comes days after three journalists, covering an official programme of Governor M.K. Narayanan and the chief minister in front of Nabanna, were beaten up by the police, leading to one of them being hospitalised with a head injury.
The incident occurred while a photo session was on during the unveiling of the state's administrative calendar by Narayanan.
Even though Narayanan ordered senior police officers to look into the matter, the twin incidents have created resentment among the media, a section of which has been the target of continuous barbs by the administration, led by the chief minister herself.
Often censuring the media for "spreading canards" against her government, Banerjee at times has even accused a part of the media of hatching a conspiracy to eliminate her in collusion with the Maoists and the opposition.
Not surprisingly, reporters have opposed the order, terming it as an "atrocious attempt to gag the media and make it paralytic".
"Indian democracy has always unequivocally rejected attempts of press censorship and there shall be no exception in this case as well. No stone will be left unturned to ensure survival and smooth functioning of the fourth estate," Kolkata Press Club president Sudipta Sengupta and secretary Anindya Sengupta said in a statement.
Besides revocation of the order, the Press Club has also sought apology for suggesting journalist were a threat to VIPs.
"The insinuation suggested in the notification that journalists are a threat to VIPs is grossly insulting to the media community. Press Club, Kolkata, demands that appropriate authorities in the government apologise for the insult heaped on media persons and assure not to repeat this in future," the statement read.
The Banerjee government had earlier kicked up a storm after its decision to ban leading dailies including all English newspapers, except eight Bengali and Hindi newspapers, in state-funded libraries to promote "free thinking".
Opposition parties and members of civil society as well as a section of the intelligentsia had come down hard on the decision.
(Anurag Dey can be contacted at

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Insensitive government in West Bengal

By Nilotpal Basu

January 07, 2014, 07.26 AM  IST | THE HANS INDIA
To what lowest depths human savagery can degenerate became apparent with what a 16-year-old girl had to bear – alive and dead – could be one of the darkest deeds that society would ever witness! The teenager–the only daughter of a Bihari migrant from Samastipur–had brought her to Kolkata barely six months back despite his modest income as a taxi driver to realise her yearnings for pursuing better education than what was available in native Samastipur. 

Alas! It was not to be.  Her world of innocence was rudely shattered on 25th of October. A group of half a dozen goons forcibly took hold of her young body and mercilessly gangraped her for two hours. The police charge sheet now reveals that they had penetrated her 16 times. 

The girl, brave enough and despite the family’s modest and rather helpless migrant status, pulled up courage to go to the local police station and filed a complaint clearly mentioning  the name of the perpetrators.  But little were they aware what were in store for them!  In the killing fields of Mamata raj in Bengal today, such normal acts were construed as a terrible crime; more so, if the perpetrators happened to be associated with the ruling party. On their way back to home from the police station, the hapless girl was snatched from her parents and subjected to another round of gangrape.  The girl lay unconscious near her home.

Shocked and anguished - response of women and human rights organisations to visit their home was met with resistance by the same hoodlums. The clear attempt was to deny contact with those who wanted to express solidarity.  The media was also denied access to the victim while the police remained mute spectators to this thuggery.

The ordeal of the family did not stop there.  Given the atmosphere of terror and intimidation in the locality, the family had to move out of that neighbourhood.  But, the long hand of the criminals too powerful.  They could trace the parents and the girl.  These associates unleashed a vicious vilification campaign against the gangrape survivor. 

December 23, 2012 was the fateful day when in the wake of mass upsurge against the horrific incident in a Delhi bus where the young girl who has come to be widely recognized as `Nirbhaya’ had to suffer and who subsequently succumbed to  her injuries while she was brutalised, when the Government of India had instituted a committee headed by Justice J S Verma to come up with a comprehensive report on not only the circumstances which is resulting in an atmosphere of growing atrocities against women; but also a set of measures to rectify the situation. On the anniversary of Nirbhaya incident, this young girl on the outskirts of Kolkata was rescued from her home with 65 per cent burns. The initial information provided by the police suggested that the girl attempted suicide. But subsequently, two days later, in her statement to the police and doctors and which is now being treated as her dying declaration, the victim claimed that it was the goons, associates of her initial tormentors, who had set her to fire.

The last eight days of her life were also of struggle. The government hospital in which she was being treated did not have any special burns unit to treat the condition that she was in. The repeated pleadings of the family to the hospital authorities to shift her to an institution where facilities for such specialised treatment were available fell on deaf ears. She succumbed on the last day of 2013.

But, more tyranny was in store. The police, which in Bengal today, move only at the behest of the topmost political leadership, apprehended widespread protest. Consequently, they acted with rare insensitivity.  Contrary to the family’s wish of cremating the girl the following day, they hijacked the body and took it to the crematorium for disposing it the very same evening. They were not even aware that they did not have the death certificate! The whole night the body remained under police custody in the open. But, forced that they could not do anything, police brought the body back to her poor father and put him under pressure to part with the death certificate. The whole night the poor man was tormented. They attempted the same thing early next morning and which was met with resistance.

But by now the simple migrant taxi driver from Samastipur was a man of steel. His fear evaporated with the loss of the perhaps the dearest thing of his life – his only daughter. He refused to go ahead with cremating the body before he met the Governor to register his protest and seek justice. He withstood all pressure from the administration to go back to Samastipur till he gets justice for this rarest of rare crime that her daughter has suffered.

It is really a grotesque  commentary that even though the Government of Bihar to which  the family belongs have come all the way to find out facts and console the inconsolable, the West Bengal Government – neither the political leadership nor the police and officials – have for once visited them with a word of sympathy. And, on top of that, the Chief Secretary of the state has come up with a stunning claim that police and the hospital authorities and, of course, the entire state administration had done everything possible to cooperate with the family! Protest over this horrific development is ‘politics over dead body’ which he strongly deplored.

While crimes against women show no signs of relenting; the state of West Bengal has shot ahead of all others in this field. Justice Verma is no more. His seminal report –submitted within a record one month – also seems to have been given a silent burial.

While it is true as somebody in course of discussion in Parliament described this a result of a lethal combination of ‘feudal patriarchy and neo-liberal consumerism’ in society, and which, indeed, needs a sustained struggle to be weeded out, more immediate and implementable recommendations on police reforms of the Verma report cry out in wilderness.

The report stated, “Government agencies must be duly compelled to perform their legal obligations and to proceed in accordance with the law against each and every person involved, irrespective of the height at which he is  placed in the power set up. This is vital to prevent erosion of the Rule of Law and to preserve democracy in our country….” and ensure that this spirit is followed with “relation to the filing of each and every complaint by an individual and investigation of the complaint irrespective of the social and economic status of the complainant”.  Kolkata’s Nirbhaya, as a national daily in its Editorial named her, lies dead and cold. Delhi ‘Nirbhaya’ did not give us a chance to save her. But this girl suffered for more than two months. Can we, as a society, people and nation allow this gruesome process to go on? 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rebuff the Attacks on Democracy

Editorial, December 29, 2013

THE state of West Bengal is bearing itself for state level actions called in protest against the despicable attack on a rally of the Left Front in Kolkata  on December 22, 2013.  Armed hoodlums of the Trinamool Congress attempted to block the rally led by the chairman of the Left Front and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Biman Basu.  Armed with sticks, iron roads and bricks these hoodlums attacked the protestors and ransacked the auto rickshaw carrying the sound system.  This could not deter the protestors  who continued with the march through the streets  of Sinthi area  of Kolkata city. Apart from Biman Basu, those targeted by the attackers included former state ministers - Mohd Salim (former MP in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), Manab Mukherjee, former MLA Rajdeo Gwala, current deputy leader of the CPI(M) group in Rajya Sabha Prasanta Chatterjee and others. Some women activists suffered grievous injuries in this attack.  As it has by now become the norm in West Bengal, the state police team led by the deputy police commissioner remained mere by-standers refusing to even lodge an FIR and making no arrests.

This is not a mere `one-off’ incident or an isolated one. This is part of the overall strategy employed by the ruling Trinamool Congress to browbeat all opposition in the state through such strong arm methods of terror and intimidation. A form of terror not unknown to the people of West Bengal.  The current situation today is menacingly moving towards a situation reminiscent of the semi-fascist terror unleashed in the state during the decade of the 1970s.  The objective then, as it is today, was to establish political hegemony by snuffing out all opposition through the brazen abrogation of democracy and civil liberties.  In the process, the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article XXI of our constitution  is being mercilessly negated.

Since the elections to the state Assembly in 2011, when the Trinamool Congress-Congress party combine secured a majority defeating the ruling Left Front after seven consecutive elections, such a subversion of democracy and democratic rights has proceeded to accelerate furiously. The following statistics (from May 14, 2011 to December 5, 2013) will attest to this fact:

Killed                                                           –        142
Abetted to commit suicide                            –    12
Peasant suicides (from October 12, 2011)    – 89
Rape                                                            –     24 + 209 [general women (from September 2011)]
Molestation                                                  –        521 + 124 [general women (from September 2011)]
Physical assaults on women                          –        987
Injured and hospitalized                                –        7433
Evicted from homes                                     –        46937
Houses ransacked, looted and burnt             –        5547
CPI(M) offices ransacked and captured        –        1247
Attack on CPI(M) Party conferences            –        14
Mass organisations and trade union
offices attacked/captured                             –        299
Attacks on the election process in different
institutions                                                    –        111
Attacks on educational institutions                –  295
Student union offices captured                     –      85
Ganashakti display boards destroyed            –  373
Pre-planned attacks based on so called
`arms recovery’                                           –        172
Arrests on false and fabricated cases            –        4237
Forceful collection  of money (instances)      –        9529
Rs. 27,87,8,000 (approx)
Peasants not allowed to cultivate own land    –        3418
9222.73 acres
Eviction of pattaholders and bargadars          –        27283
9411.83 acres

In protest against such a murderous attack on democracy, elected members of the parliament, state assembly and local bodies from West Bengal staged a dharna at the Parliament Street in New Delhi on December 18, 2013.  Members of the Left Front in both the houses of parliament raised this issue and organised a protest march to the President of India and submitted a memorandum drawing his attention to such a naked subversion of democracy in the state of West Bengal.

On the next day, a delegation met the chief election commissioner drawing the attention of the Election Commission to its constitutional mandate of creating conditions conducive for a free and fair elections, which is not the situation obtaining in West Bengal today.  The details of the memorandum submitted both to the president and to the Election Commission are detailed elsewhere in this issue.

These memoranda highlighted the fact that apart from such attacks listed above, it has now become a practice in West Bengal that the ruling Trinamool Congress uses all forms of force, threats and intimidation to ensure that opposition members elected in the recent local body elections resign or change their political allegiance in favour of the ruling party.  Spouses of prospective candidates and those elected belong to the opposition parties are `visited’ by ruling party goons with presents of white saris (worn by women when their husbands are deceased), thus, threatening grave consequences if the husbands do not withdraw from contest or join the ruling.  Such is the naked assault on democracy and democratic processes.

Worse is the fact that the ruling party in the state appears to be perfecting the form of using rape as a political weapon. Large-scale increase in such cases, notwithstanding the national outrage on this score, in the state have been a source of very deep anguish and concern amongst the people, who, for the last three decades and more, have seen a vastly different and better levels of civil social environment.  The instances of coercion, assaults and kidnapping are becoming the order of the day.

It is, indeed, ominous that such an attack on democracy and civil liberties in West Bengal comes at a time when there seems to be a rightward shift in Indian politics. It is well-known that the Trinamool Congress has absolutely no reservations or any compunctions in doing business with the RSS/BJP.  Recollect that the Trinamool Congress chief served as the union railway minister under Atal Behari Vajpayee.  Having left the ruling NDA then, on some reason, she rejoined the union cabinet soon after the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat. Obviously, she suffered from no sense of guilt to associate with the union cabinet that virtually condoned the Gujarat communal pogrom. Given this, the concern expressed for the welfare of the Muslim minorities in West Bengal today betrays both lack of sincerity and genuineness of intent.  It would, therefore, be of little surprise if the projected RSS/BJP prime ministerial aspirant receives positive vibes from the West Bengal CM. The Gujarat CM as PM and West Bengal CM would, indeed, be a lethal cocktail threatening the future of Indian secular democracy.

Further, having aligned with the Congress party in the 2009 general elections and 2011 assembly elections, and serving as the union railway minister under Dr Manmohan Singh, the Trinamool Congress chief has displayed utter contempt for any political commitment or sincerity.  For being party to share the spoils of office, the Trinamool Congress would be willing to do business with the RSS/BJP or the Congress.

However, in the pursuit of their ambitions through political opportunism, they cannot be permitted to destroy the foundations of democracy and democratic institutions that grievously undermine the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people. The CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal have, in the past, at the expense of immense sacrifice  of thousands of its members and supporters had restored democracy in West Bengal. For over five years, when the CPI(M) was being targeted in the 1970s, many secular democratic opposition parties thought it was an attack confined to the CPI(M) and the Left alone. They realized only when internal emergency was imposed in 1975 that when attacks on democracy and democratic rights begin, they never stop at targeting one party or one part of India. They are bound to extend universally. The experience of the struggle to restore democracy by the Indian people during 1975-77 must be recollected, once again, as a learning experience to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself as a tragedy.

On its part, the CPI(M) along with its allies of the Left Front, will continue to unflinchingly resist such attacks and, like in the past, will surely overcome them once again to ensure the deepening and strengthening of democracy and democratic  rights in the country.

(December 25, 2013)


On Orders, Police Practically Played Goons: CPI(M)

By Debasish Chakraborty

IT was a murder most foul. It was a protest most heart rending.

Kolkata erupted in protest on the first day of the New Year after a girl, twice gangraped and then burnt to death, breathed her last in a city hospital. The episode, as if taken from a horror film, exposed the cruelty of a regime that is ruling West Bengal now.

The girl, daughter of a taxi driver, came with her parents from Samastipur, Bihar, to Kolkata with the hope that her life would change for the better. But that was not to be. She was only 16 years old. She was first gangraped on October 25 in Madhyamgram, a crowded northern suburb of Kolkata in North 24 Parganas district. As she and her parents were coming back after lodging the complaint with the police, she was kidnapped along the way and tortured again by the same gang of anti-socials. It was horrible enough under normal circumstances, but Ms Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal has ceased to be a normal state. The perpetrators were goons sheltered by the ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC) and they repeatedly threatened, harassed and humiliated her family. Under pressure from the local people and the women’s organisations in particular, the police was forced to arrest six of the culprits.

The threat of dire consequences, however, continued through the ruling party’s local activists. The poor taxi driver had to leave the place and hire a home in the airport locality. But the friends of the culprits, through the TMC network, got the address of the new shelter and harassment again started. The family was pressurised to withdraw the case. Or, as has been proved by now, the planning was to annihilate the main witness of the crime --- the girl herself.

On December 23, a group of hooligans raided the house when both of her parents were outside. An altercation followed. Soon after, fire was seen from the house and her neighbours rushed in. Meanwhile, her mother also rushed back. The girl was heard shouting, “Mother, they will not allow us to live. You come along with me; Oh, my mother!”

The girl was admitted to R G Kar Hospital with more than 70 percent burn injuries. Earlier, it was told that she had tried to commit suicide in the face of continuous harassment. But finally it was learnt that she was put on fire by the goons. On December 31, 2013, she lost the battle and died.

This was thus a clear case of murder ---premeditated, most foul, in cold blood.

The girl, in her dying statement, told the police that the same men who had allegedly raped her, had set her ablaze. This was admitted by the police after three days --- in the face of a strong public opinion and steadfastness of the girl’s father.

"In her dying declaration before Dr Sudipta Singh and investigating officer Saidullah Sana at the R G Kar hospital, she said two persons, who were co-accused in the rape case, set her on fire," said additional deputy commissioner (airport division), Nimbala Santosh Uttamrao, on the day of the funeral. He said the police have now added the murder charge to the case.

The girl’s father also said the accused tried to burn her alive because she had complained against them. He was upset, however, because “the police sat over her dying statement and did not book the accused for murder.” Her father said she was set afire on December 23 at the rented house in the airport area where the family was forced to shift from Madhyamgram after threats by the accused.

It is alleged that even in the state run R G Kar hospital, the girl was not treated in any proper manner. Continuous request to refer her to SSKM Hospital, having a modern burn unit, was refused. It seemed that some forces from the high up were working behind the scene.

The ordeal did not end with the death either. After spontaneous protests around the hospital and road blockades, the girl’s body was taken to her house. It was announced that the body would be kept in a mortuary and a funeral rally will take place on January 1. The Taximen’s Union, affiliated to the CITU, had called the rally and decided that it would march towards Raj Bhavan, the governor’s house. But the police perpetrated a nasty, uncivilised attack when the body was on its way to mortuary. Police jeeps cordoned the hearse and forcefully took the body to the crematorium. However, this unlawful act proved futile as the parents of the girl refused to accompany the police and refused to hand over the death certificate. The body was kept for eight hours in the crematorium, cordoned by the police, and the whole state witnessed through news channels the inhuman behaviour of the state administration on the eve of the New Year.

Meanwhile, another gruesome episode unfolded in the girl’s house. District police officials, including the police superintendent, raided the house. They threatened the girl’s father with dire consequences if they did not hand over the death certificate. Local TMC hooligans accompanied the police and gheraoed the house. "The police officials threatened me and asked me to leave the state and return to Bihar with the body. The police officials and some local toughs also threatened that if I did not, they would stop me from driving my taxi," said the victim's father to the media. He even reported that the police officers threatened to kill him by firing. The parents reported their ordeal to the governor, M K Narayanan, on January 1.

But all these terror tactics failed because of resolute determination of a working class family who refused to let her daughter get a grotesque farewell. The police was forced to bring the body back to the house. The police then accompanied the parents to the crematorium again, in the early hours of the morning, with the intention that everything should be ‘hushed up’ before the people become alert. But again, their design was foiled by the girl’s father. He insisted that the body would have to be taken to the CITU office first. The news spread and people began to gather in front of the crematorium. CITU leaders, including Shyamal Chakraborty and Dipak Dasgupta, and AIDWA leaders also rushed there and after a brief clash with the police the body was taken to the CITU state office. 

The body was kept there and thousands gathered to pay their respect --- in fact their last love to a sister who suffered a brutal death. Workers, students, youths, women, intellectuals assembled and patiently waited. Finally, the rally started with small congested steps from the West Bengal state office of the CITU at around 4 p m and then every confident footsteps of this huge procession made her reborn every single moment they marched. The procession ended at the Esplanade. Then she was taken to the crematorium, with her parents and near and dear ones accompanying her through this span of the journey. But the stretch from the CITU office to the Esplanade made many feel so deeply like her parents, brothers and sisters that they refused to leave her half the way. They are all determined to make her win in this battle of justice and dignity now. The rally was silent, but the anger reverberated in the sky of the New Year. 

The leader of the opposition in the assembly, Suryakanta Mishra, while participating in the rally, said, "Soon after Tuesday night’s incident when police held up the body and tormented the victim’s family, I had a word with the home secretary. I told him that instead of standing beside the victim’s family, the police are practically playing the role of goons," Mishra said.

"We believe that without orders from the top the police could not have acted the way they did. The police are even trying to downplay the incident, as is evident from the fact that they registered the second rape complaint as molestation. What is striking is the silence of the chief minister on the issue. She only gave her wishes for the New Year but conveniently sidestepped the brutal incident," Mishra added.

"The victim did not receive proper treatment in hospital. The health department should be held accountable for the death. The goons wanted to burn her alive and the police wanted to cremate her body despite objections from the family. Such activities are only encouraging the criminals," said CPI(M) state secretary Biman Basu.