Bengal rape victim’s name on banners at BJP rally in Kolkata draws flak

Updated on Jan 11, 2020 06:59 AM IST

BJP leaders, participating in the rally in the heart of Kolkata, deflected the blame by claiming the banners had been made by sundry participants and not commissioned by party workers.

The 18-year-old girl from South Dinajpur district in north Bengal was allegedly raped and murdered by her boyfriend and two of his associates. (Photo @BJP4Bengal)
The 18-year-old girl from South Dinajpur district in north Bengal was allegedly raped and murdered by her boyfriend and two of his associates. (Photo @BJP4Bengal)
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | By

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Bengal unit drew flak for naming the 18-year-old victim from North Bengal-- who was raped and burnt to death on January 5-- on banners at a huge Kolkata rally organised by the party on Friday to protest crime against women in the state.

In December 2018, a Supreme Court bench had directed the media not to reveal identity of victims of rape and sexual assault and also said that FIRs in such cases, including those committed against minors, should not be made public by the police.

BJP leaders, participating in the rally in the heart of Kolkata, deflected the blame by claiming the banners had been made by sundry participants and not commissioned by party workers.

“Those carrying such banners and posters do not belong to our party. They are outsiders. We have named the victim Durga. We respect her and demand punishment for the offenders. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) government will not be able to stop us with such tactics,” said Locket Chatterjee, BJP Lok Sabha member and president of the party’s state Mahila Morcha (women’s wing).

The 18-year-old girl from South Dinajpur district in north Bengal was allegedly raped and murdered by her boyfriend and two of his associates. They set her body on fire, reminding people of the Hyderabad veterinary doctor, who was raped and murdered in the same manner last year, triggering a national outrage.

All three accused were arrested by Bengal police. On Friday, their police remand was extended by 10 days.

TMC pounced on the opportunity to slam its strongest rival in Bengal.

“BJP is an uncivilised party. They do not have any respect even for the Supreme Court. Nobody can reveal the name of a rape victim,” said Partha Chatterjee, TMC secretary general and education minister.

“Rape is a heinous crime and revealing the name of the victim is an equally heinous crime. Only the BJP can do it,” said Manab Mukherjee, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former minister.

Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) bars the disclosure of identity of victims of sexual offences without permission. The offense is punishable with fine and imprisonment of up to two years.

The law requires concealment of any information and not just the name that may lead to a victim’s identification. The Supreme Court recently clarified that the identity must be protected even after a victim’s death to preserve the dignity.

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