AIDWA Demands Action in the Gang-Rape case of Adivasi Girl
The following is the press statement issued by the All India Democratic Women’s Association on January 23. It is shocking that not a day passes in West Bengal without one or the other incident of violence against women. The latest incident has taken place in Labhpur, Birbhum on January 21, when a 20 year-old adivasi girl from the village of Rajrampur was abducted and gang-raped by 12 persons from the same village as she had dared to have a relationship with a non-tribal boy. This was done after a kangaroo-court called apparently by some village elders sought to extract a fine of Rs 50,000 from the girl’s family for this supposed offence, and the family pleaded their inability to pay the same. The couple were reportedly brought before the kangaroo-court bound hand and foot and even after the boy pleaded that he wanted to marry the girl, the perpetrators ignored him and gave the verdict for the girl to be raped as a punishment by those present. She was dragged to an adjoining room and attacked by a number of persons from her own village, and left severely injured in front of her house. The next day she went with her mother and lodged an FIR at Labhpur Thana, after which she was admitted to the PHC and then shifted to Siuri District Hospital. The police have so far arrested 11 persons on the basis of the FIR. The AIDWA has led a deputation to the SP and several protest rallies have been conducted against the growing atmosphere of insecurity, especially for women in West Bengal. Although some arrests have been made in this particular case, it is necessary that the administration makes immediate arrangements for the full security of the survivor and her family. All the perpetrators and instigators must be arrested and a proper investigation conducted. It is increasingly the case in several districts of West Bengal including Birbhum that there is a growing atmosphere of violence, with gangs of armed anti-socials taking the law in their own hands. This is because many of them enjoy the political patronage of the ruling party, as a result of which the police and the administration turn a blind eye to them. Consequently, lawlessness has been increasing at all levels, since there is now a feeling that such crimes can go unpunished. The AIDWA expresses its grave concern about the situation, and stands by all those who are victims of the growing crimes against women in the state.