A 71-year-old nun was allegedly gang-raped by dacoits in West Bengal's Nadia district early on Saturday triggering blockade of road and rail tracks as chief minister Mamata Banerjee ordered a CID probe into the incident.
According to authorities at the local convent in Ranaghat sub-division of the district, a gang of seven to eight dacoits broke into the convent around 12:30am. When the missionaries in the convent tried to resist them, they tied up one person and raped the nun, who teaches at a school adjacent to the convent, in front of her.
The gang also decamped with Rs 10 lakh after committing the crime.
The nun was taken to a government hospital in Nadia district, about 80 km from Kolkata, by school authorities in the morning when the matter came to light.
The incident sparked an outburst of angry protests from local villagers who blocked the Sealdah-Ranaghat rail tracks and NH 34 that connects Kolkata with Siliguri.
Chief minister Banerjee described the incident as "horrific" and promised a CID inquiry.
"We strongly condemn the incident that took place at the Ranaghat convent. We have ordered a CID probe. The government will take strict steps against the culprit. CID will be examining all aspects to this horrific crime. Swift, strongest action to be taken," said a statement from the chief minister.
"We can sniff political conspiracy in the incident. It may be designed to malign the state government," said education minister Partha Chatterjee, who went to a trip to Nandigram during the day.
In February 2012, Banerjee had alleged that the complaint of the Park Street rape victim, who died on Thursday, was a plot to malign her government as the incident was "fabricated".
Describing it as an "attack on humanity", state urban development minister Firhad Hakim said that attempts were being made to inject religious fanaticism.
"The culprits have to be identified and arrested immediately and given exemplary punishment," he said.
District police rushed to the spot to quell the fury of the agitating mob, but till afternoon, failed to convince the protesters to withdraw the agitation. Students of the convent were also part of the agitation.
The agitators said that they would withdraw the blockade only after the police arrest the culprits.
(With PTI inputs)