Death penalty for rapists is still a matter of debate, with women's groups advocating that it will merely result in the murder of the victims. But in Kolkata's backyard, rape and murder have apparently started going hand-in-hand. And for men, escorting women at night appears increasingly perilous.
Late on Saturday night in Barasat, 20 km from Kolkata, a 45-year-old woman and her husband were waylaid by six men as they were returning home from a brick kiln where they worked. After raping the woman, they bludgeoned her to death. The man was forced to drink acid. He is battling for life at Kolkata's RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. "His liver and kidneys have been damaged but his condition is stable," said Dr Siddhartha Neyogi, deputy superintendent of the hospital.
The police have arrested a man, Isha Morol, and detained eight others for interrogation. A hammer was recovered from the spot where the body was found.
Barasat is the constituency of Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, who got embroiled in a constituency last week after she commented that the Park Street rape case was "a misunderstanding between a lady and her client," thereby implying the victim was a sex worker.
On Sunday morning, the body of a 25-year old woman was found on the banks of river Hooghly at Diamond Harbour on the southern fringes of Kolkata. "She was gangraped and murdered," said the woman's brother.
The final report of the postmortem is yet to come but according to the preliminary report, she was two months' pregnant, said a police officer. Two youths -Raja and Prince - were last seen with the woman. The police suspect one of them was her fiancé and had murdered her to avoid a marriage. Deputy inspector general, Presidency Range, Anil Kumar, under whose jurisdiction both districts lie, said, "We have lodged a case of rape and murder in the Barasat incident on the basis of the complaint lodged by the woman's son. A case has been lodged in the Diamond Harbour murder as well."