Wife of Gopal Sarkar, who was arrested for harbouring the culprits in the Ranaghat gang rape case, has blamed her uncle Milan Sarkar for the heinous crime that has ostracised the family from the community.
Gopal’s wife Anita confessed they had provided shelter to the criminals involved in Ranaghat incident at their Habra residence. “He (Milan) brought them all and since he is my uncle, we did not suspect they were criminals,” she said on Sunday.
On March 14, dacoits raided a convent in Ranaghat Nadia where they also raped a 71-year-old nun. The Criminal Investigation Department have arrested two including Gopal in connection with the incident.
A team from HT visited the Sarkar residence in Gohalbati of Habra in North 24 Parganas, where the locals have boycotted the family. “My son can’t go to school because of the ongoing situation. He asks me where his father is. But I can’t give him an answer,” Anita said, pointing to her six-year-old son Arup.
Gopal earned his livelihood as a daily labourer while his wife worked as a tailor. Gopal’s elder brother Shaktipada, who works as a mason, also lives with the family at their residence. His wife Sefali, works with Anita.
The lives of the family have been thrown into a tizzy with Gopal’s arrest.
“The police even took away Shaktipada’s tools despite knowing he cannot work without them,” alleged Sabita, Gopal’s mother.
After news of Gopal’s involvement spread, Shaktipada was boycotted by the other masons rendering him jobless. Sefali too has trouble finding work. “How would earn our ends meet is a big question for us,” she said. The family seldom leaves the house fearing social rebuke.
Locals however, claim the family was well aware of the criminals using their home as a shelter. “When the criminals visited their house, we saw that grand feasts were arranged at their residence. Gopal and his family would join in the feasts with them,” said Tapas Pal, a neighbour.
Locals revealed that all the Ranaghat accused were present at the marriage of Gopal’s elder sister — which took place days before the attack. “They would come to my shop with bunches of Indian currency and would ask me to bring costly cigarettes. The police never visited our area prior to the incident. The area became famous for Gopal,” said Deepak Das, a shopkeeper from the area.
“I have been living here for the last two years…If I can meet my uncle in future I will hack him to death for spoiling my life,” said Anita.