Politics over gang-rape victim’s body, father alleges cops asked him to leave Bengal
Left party leaders and supporters clashed with Kolkata Police today over the cremation of the body of a 16-year-old gang-rape victim, who died in a government-run city hospital on Tuesday.india Updated: Jan 01, 2014 16:42 IST
Left party leaders and supporters clashed with Kolkata Police on Wednesday over the cremation of the body of a 16-year-old gang-rape victim, who died in a government-run city hospital on Tuesday.
The girl, who was gang-raped on October 26, set herself on fire on December 23 and died after two months of threats and taunts by the accused and their associates.
Meanwhile, her father alleged that Kolkata Police asked him to leave the state and return to Bihar with his daughter's body.
"The police officials and some local toughs also threatened that if I did not they would stop me from driving my taxi," said the victim's father, a taxi driver.
The Left leadership will meet governor MK Narayanan during the day over the issue and submit a deputation, party sources said.
The girl's father, a member of the CPI(M) trade union Centre of Indian Trade Unions or Citu, wanted to cremate her body only after carrying it in a procession.
The father, who spent a harrowing night fighting cops over his daughter's body, reached the crematorium at 7am on Wednesday morning. At around 8am, Citu members tried to take the body to their office, but 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.
Citu has now said it will not take out a protest procession with the body and that it will be sent for cremation at 2pm, reports said.
The girl's father earlier said it was decided by the family and the trade union that the body would be kept at Peace Haven mortuary in the city and a condolence rally with the body will be taken out during the day on Tuesday.
But the girl's family alleged that when they were taking her body from their home to the mortuary on Tuesday, police intercepted the hearse and forced it to drive to the cremation ground.
"The police took away the body forcefully and tried to cremate it at Nimatala crematorium but could not as the death certificate was with the girl's father. After the news spread, we too rushed to the crematorium and protested forcing the police to retreat," CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb told PTI.
"The police gave an excuse that the condolence rally with the body cannot be allowed as there is dearth of policemen due to New Year celebrations," he said.
At their home, the family alleged, some policemen and local goons attempted to force the father to hand over the death certificate, but he did not.
They said the body was brought back by the policemen to the girl's home after nearly five hours at about 2.30am.
Shyamal Chakrabarty, Citu president and CPI (M) central committee member said, "Are we living in a democracy? A girl is gang-raped, she dies and the police forcefully try to take away the body to cremate it rather than arresting the culprits."
The police have now allowed the family to hold a procession with the body.
However, they have denied the allegations.
"It is a totally false allegation. Whatever was done was done in consultation with Bidhahnagar Police, under whose jurisdiction the girl's house falls, and the family members. We did not forcefully take away anybody," joint commissioner of police (headquarters) Rajeev Mishra told PTI.
When contacted, deputy commissioner of Bidhannagar Police (detective department) Arnab Ghosh said, "The incident happened in the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police so we can't comment on it."
The girl's family has also alleged negligence by RG Kar Medical College Hospital, where she was admitted.
Doctors at the hospital said the girl died due to multiple organ failure and infection as a result of the burns.
The victim's father had lodged a police complaint against chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who holds the health portfolio, and the superintendent of RG Kar Hospital for causing his daughter's death due to medical negligence.
"My daughter was left unattended by hospital staff and there were several irregularities in her medication," the father said.
Six people were arrested after local residents demanded immediate action against the culprits, but the victim's family members alleged that on December 23, a close associate of the gang leader Chottu had visited their Dum Dum residence and threatened them with dire consequences if the girl did not withdraw her complaint.
She tried to immolate herself on the same day.
The girl, who had shifted from Bihar in July with her family, was gang-raped a few metres away from her house at Madhyamgram on the outskirts of Kolkata.
The family relocated near the airport after it was unable to bear the humiliation. But the threats and jibes continued, forcing the girl to attempt suicide.