Monoranjan Malik came up to the stage clinging to a photograph of his daughter Tapasi.
Teenager Tapasi Malik was part of the movement against land acquisition in Singur, the site of Tata Motor’s small-car project. Till her crumpled, burnt body was found dumped in a Singur field.
For Monoranjan, a sharecropper, it was the beginning of a nightmare. Tapasi, a member of the Paschim Banga Krishi Jami Rakshya Samiti, was allegedly raped and murdered by CPI(M) members but the police, he said, put the blame on him instead.
“When the state CID started investigating, they blamed me,” Monoranjan said at Mavlankar Auditorium here on Monday. “You tell me, can a father do this to any daughter? I was put under tremendous pressure to own up to the crime.”
Last week, the CBI arrested CPI(M) leader Suhrid Datta and party member Debu Malik in connection with the crime. But the arrests are yet to wipe out Monoranjan’s bitter memories.
Monoranjan was among the several families of victims of violence from Singur and Nandigram present at the auditorium on Monday. Some, like Rani (name changed), were victims themselves. “Home: Gokulpur; Police Station: Nandigram; Name: Rani,” she said before describing how she was raped on March 14. Rani was taking part in a ‘mahaprabhu puja’ when she heard gunshots and the world around her turned black with the smoke of tear-gas shells.
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee was on stage when several accounts of alleged Left violence on residents of Singur and Nandigram were shared by the affected. “The West Bengal government has become opportunistic and one with double standards. The Centre must intervene,’’ she said.