In the latest atrocity to rock the state, a retired scientist was beaten up and his daughter stripped on the outskirts of Kolkata on Sunday.
Dr Aparesh Bhattacharya, 60, was thrashed, and his 30-year old daughter, Aditi, stripped and beaten, allegedly by members of a club at Baruipur, before the duo was thrown out of their rented house.
Worse, officers of Baruipur police station, who reached the spot more than two and a half hours after the incident, refused to record the victims' complaint or take them to hospital.
The incident occurred at about 1.30pm on Sunday, when about 30 youths from a local club, Bhai Bhai Sangha, descended on the family inside their two-storeyed Anandanagar residence at Baruipur and unleashed a merciless assault on them.
Even the household's maid andherhusbandwerenotspared. The gang hit Aditi in the face, inflicting a deep, bleeding wound.
Dr Aparesh Bhattacharya, 60, and his 30-year old daughter, Aditi. Aparesh was thrashed and Aditi was stripped and beaten, allegedly by members of a club at Baruipur. (HT Photos)
"They molested me, tore off my clothes and made me naked. They injured me in the face, forehead and all over my body," she wrote in a complaint.
One of the family's neighbours, an elderly woman, gave Aditi a T-shirt and a skirt after she was pushed out onto the streets almost naked.
Hindustan Times has a copy of the medical report from SSKM hospital, which records that Aditi was beaten with wooden sticks and iron rods, apart from being pulled by the hair.
"Bleeding profusely, we were sitting on the street in front of our house when the police came. But, instead of helping us, either by recording our complaint or taking us to the hospital, the police promptly left," the father said.
Injured and humiliated, the two victims went to the Kalighat residence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday morning, accompanied by a lawyer friend, only to find that no help was forthcoming.
"We went to the chief minister's residence in the hope of getting prompt help. But, after speaking to the people at the front office, we had to return, since they insisted on seeing the property-related documents we had in our possession," claimed Saptadeepa Singha, the lawyer who took the victims to Kalighat.
However, Bhattacharya, who retired as senior principal scientist of the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (a CSIR institute) in February, said the duo were in no position to produce any documents, since these were inside the house from which they had been unceremoniously evicted. The house itself was now under the control of the owner, Gautam Pal, he added. The victims say that Pal masterminded the attack on them.
"I'm not in a position to talk to you. Please talk to my advocate," Gautam Pal told HT, before he stopped taking any further phone calls.
"The Bhattacharyas came to me this afternoon and I've instructed the sub-divisional police officer to take action," Praveen Tripathi, superintendent of South 24-Parganas told Hindustan Times. However, even more than 24 hours after the incident took place, the police are yet to start a case.
Bhattacharya rented the house in Baruipur after his retirement, and has been living there with his daughter, who has a Masters degree in law and is preparing for the National Eligibility Test.
In February, Bhattacharya offered to buy the house from Pal, a resident of KP Roy Lane in Tollygunge and an employee of LIC'S Rabindra Sarovar branch.
A contract was signed on February 10. The price agreed to was Rs. 40 lakh. Bhattacharya gave Pal Rs. 2 lakh in advance and agreed to pay the rest in instalments.
"But, on March 12, I sent him a letter stating that the documents of the house weren't legally clear and I was no longer in a position to buy it. On March 19, Pal sent me a letter saying he wouldn't sell me the property and would refund the advance," Bhattacharya said, before adding that, since then, Pal had begun threatening them in an attempt to get them to vacate the house.
"He even came to our house, along with the local club secretary, and threatened us," the retired scientist said.
A neighbour confirmed the incident on condition of anonymity.
"I couldn't help the father and daughter because of fear. They (the goons) would have killed me if I'd tried to save them," the person said.
Locals alleged that the people who descended on the Bhattacharyas cut across party lines. While two of them, identified as Gour Mondal and Dipu Haldar, are CPI(M) activists, Papai Dutta is a Trinamool supporter and a member of the Mullickpur Panchayat Samiti.
"I know the club. It's known to be dominated by the Trinamool Congress. I'm inquiring into the alleged role of our supporters. But the police should rise above politics and take stringent action," said Sujan Chakraborty, former MP and district secretary of the CPI(M).