The tussle that took place between the Left parties and the Kolkata Police over the death and later the cremation of a 16-year-old gang rape victim shows that politics in the state is now all about scoring brownie points and not tackling the real issues in a constructive way.
The teenager was gang raped twice on October 25 and then unable to face humiliation set herself on fire on December 23, a view that is now being contested by her father.
She succumbed to injuries on Tuesday. But her death did not draw out people to the streets like the December 16, 2012, gang rape and death of a young student in Delhi did. Instead, it was the cadre of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Citu), a Left organisation, which moved around the city with the body for three hours.
So what was the Citu's interest in all this? The girl's father is a member of the organisation. According to one report, the father wanted political parties to stay away, but the Citu activists who were keen on a 'protest procession', 'snatched' away the body from the family and tried to take the body to their office. This was utterly shameful behaviour.
But they were stopped by the police who had put up barricades near the crematorium. Two hours later, the cops allowed her body to be taken away.
The Trinamool Congress was also not far behind: it accused the Left of spreading 'wrong propaganda'. This is not the first time that such politicisation of a rape case has happened in the state.
Last year, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who sees a 'Red' conspiracy in everything, branded villagers of Kamduni, who were protesting the rape of a girl student, Maoists. When a woman was raped in Park Street, the CM labelled the incident as part of a greater conspiracy to malign her and her government.
While Ms Banerjee should not forget that the state has the dubious honour of topping the chart when it comes to violence against women and focus on taking action against criminals, other parties must realise that there is a thin line between showing support to a victim and politicising her cause.
Such attempts to politicise sexual harassment cases are despicable; they reek of opportunism and deny victims the dignity a human being deserves.