Twenty-year-old college girl was raped and murdered unleashing waves of protests across the state — triggered another major controversy when she labelled protesters who asked what took her ten days to visit the village as CPI(M) supporters.The incident took place in the village, about 40 km from Kolkata, on June 7.
“I was about to visit the family. What’s happened is really sad and horrific. We promise stringent action against the culprits. We’ll submit a charge sheet within 7-8 days and the culprits will be punished within a month. We, on behalf of the government, will push for the death sentence,” Banerjee said after visiting the victim’s family.
But that did not satisfy the protesters, who wanted to ask a few questions. This agitated the CM, who shot back at them, saying that all those arrested for the crime were CPI(M) supporters.Locally, however, it is well known that the accused had switched loyalties after the change of guard in the state in 2011 and were local Trinamool supporters.
As the CM was leaving Kamduni, some women started protesting, resulting in a bitter war of words. Mamata lost her cool in no time. She asked the women to ‘shut up’, following which a protester shot back, “Things won’t get resolved if you shout.” Further enraged, Mamata rebuked the women and shouted, “Doesn’t the CPI(M) feel ashamed to politicise the issue? Those who were arrested are CPI(M) supporters.”
“Even if the protesters belong to the CPI(M), don’t they have the right to protest? Everyone knows the accused switched loyalties after the Trinamool came to power. Minutes before claiming that the accused were CPI(M) supporters, she said criminals had no colour. She’s contradicting herself,” theatre personality Koushik Sen said.
On different occasions during her two-year tenure, the CM has labelled those posing uncomfortable questions to her as CPI(M) or Maoist supporters. On two occasions last year, Mamata labelled Belpahari marginal farmer Shiladitya Choudhuri and Presidency University student Taniya Bhardwaj as Maoists. The Opposition and civil society members were quick to condemn Mamata’s remarks. “Criminals have only one colour - black. They’re neither red, nor green,” remarked social activist Bolan Ganguly.
Significantly, main accused Ansar Ali is a known Trinamool supporter and a relative of Trinamool-controlled KirtipurII gram panchayat head Sayeeda Bibi and her husband, KirtipurII block Trinamool president Asraf Ali Mollah.
Moments after stepping into Kamduni, Mamata practically switched over to poll gear and held the CPI(M) responsible for the lawlessness in Barasat.“These areas are totally unplanned. The CPI(M) had grabbed vast tracts of land and doled them out to just about everybody without bothering about the area’s development. There are no police stations in these areas and people are paying the price for the CPI(M)’s misrule,” Mamata said. “We’ll try to develop this area in a planned manner. At the same time, we’ll ask the Border Security Force to step up vigil, since criminals from across the border commit rapes and murders and then escape,” Mamata added.
Barasat erupted in protest in the wake of the rape and murder and concerns over the safety of women in the area.