A tribal woman from Birbhum, who came to Murshidabad’s Gohira village in Khargram police station area to harvest paddy, was allegedly raped on Saturday evening.
The accused is a local Congress leader of the village, Biman Rajbanshi, who fled from the area after the incident. Locals alleged that when the woman went to Khargram police station to lodge a complaint against Rajbanshi, the police reportedly refused at first. Later, a complaint was registered after the local CPM leaders allegedly pressurised the police. On Monday, the woman was taken to a Kandi court to record her statement.
A senior officer of the district police said, “Though we have started a rape case against Rajbanshi, I think the woman has not been raped.” He, however, conceded that the final medical report is yet to reach them. The officer added that Rajbanshi is on a run since the complaint was lodged. When contacted, Murshidabad SP Humayun Kabir said, “I don’t know anything.”
The victim, who is 45 years old, comes to Murshidabad every year from Birbhum’s Andulia village to harvest paddy. She stays for around 10 days. This year, she was accompanied by her brother-in-law and her niece.
Sources said that on Saturday evening, Rajbanshi was drinking alcohol with the victim’s brother-in-law while she was sitting near them. After some time, a quarrel ensued between Rajbanshi and the brother-in-law. An angry Rajbanshi allegedly hit the brother-in-law and then dragged the woman to the cow shed of his house and raped her. The brother-in-law is now admitted at Kandi sub-divisional hospital with a head injury.
Incidentally, the brother-in-law claims he was a witness to the whole incident. “In a drunken state, Rajbanshi was forcing my sister-in-law to enter a physical relationship with him. When I protested, he started hitting me and dragged her to the cowshed and raped her.” Since the accused is a local Congress leader, the CPM and the Congress are busy trading allegations. CPM’s Khargram zonal committee secretary Biswanath Mondal said, “Rajbanshi is an influential Cong leader, so the police did not register the woman’s complaint initially. It was only after we organised a rally on Sunday that the cops swung into action.”
Refuting the allegation, the Congress-run Khargram panchayat samiti’s sabhapati, Abul Kashem, said, “Rajbanshi is a supporter of our party but he didn’t rape anyone. The woman has lodged a false complaint at the instigation of the CPM leaders.”