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Pregnant kin of BJP candidate ‘raped’ in Bengal, TMC dismisses charges

While the BJP accused Trinamool workers of sexually assaulting the woman, the ruling party termed it as an attempt at malignment ahead of the rural elections. Police are yet to receive medical confirmation of the alleged rape.

kolkata Updated: Apr 30, 2018 20:10 IST
Halim Mondal and Koushik Dutta
Halim Mondal and Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
BJP,Rape,Trinamool Congress
People take out anti-rape protests in Amritsar recently. (REUTERS File)

A relative of a BJP candidate contesting the rural elections in West Bengal was allegedly raped by Trinamool Congress activists in Nadia district early on Sunday.

Bappa Sheikh, one of the five people named in the police complaint lodged by the 23-year-old woman’s mother-in-law at the Santipur police station, has been arrested. The victim, a resident of Ghoralia Jopara village, was said to be pregnant at the time.

The accused have been booked under sections 448 (house trespass), 376 (rape), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50), 379 (punishment for theft), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. “However, we are yet to receive medical confirmation of the rape. An investigation is on,” said Nadia superintendent of police Santosh Pandey.

The police complaint stated that the incident occurred around 2.10 am, after which she was taken to the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata. “It was a barbaric incident. Ruling party supporters assaulted and raped a woman closely related to one of our candidates. She has been admitted to the NRS Hospital in a critical state. I have brought the matter to the governor’s notice,” said Babul Supriyo, Union minister and Asansol parliamentarian.

However, the Trinamool Congress roundly dismissed the charges. “The BJP is cooking up these allegations to malign us before the elections,” said Gourishankar Dutta, district president of the party.

Local Trinamool MLA Arindam Bhattacharya also expressed a similar sentiment. “This is purely a family matter,” he said.

The police complaint lodged by the victim’s mother-in-law alleged that the BJP candidate was being threatened by Trinamool Congress workers ever since she filed her nomination. “Following this, she and her husband decided to go away for a while. On the night of April 29, a group of men barged into our residence, ransacked it and trashed our handlooms. Another daughter-in-law who is six months’ pregnant was home at the time. The miscreants kicked her in the stomach before raping her,” it said.

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 20:09 IST