BJP fact-finding team to visit Hanskhali to look into alleged gang-rape


A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fact-finding team will on Friday visit Hanskhali in West Bengal’s Nadia district, where a 14-year-old girl died hours after she was allegedly gang-raped. The girl’s family alleged she was gang-raped on April 4 and hurriedly cremated without a post-mortem. They have named a ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader’s son, who has been arrested along with a friend, as the main accused.

Member of Parliament Rekha Verma, who is a member of the team, claimed such incidents were repeatedly taking place in the state, where the chief minister is a woman. “This means the administration has failed to ensure the safety and security of women. The chief minister’s remark that it was a love affair is shameful and she should apologise to the victim’s family,” Verma said.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee provoked outrage as she appeared to dismiss the matter as a “love affair”. The 14-year-old returned home late at night from the birthday party hosted by the TMC leader’s son on April 4 and died the next day apparently due to excessive bleeding. She was cremated in the evening without a death certificate.

On Saturday last, the girl’s family lodged a police complaint against the TMC leader’s son, alleging rape. Local residents and the girl’s family told police she was forced to drink alcohol before she was allegedly raped

The Calcutta high court on Tuesday handed over the probe into the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

TMC leader Kunal Ghosh on Wednesday said the CBI is probing the matter and questioned the need for BJP’s fact-finding team. “It seems the BJP has no faith in CBI because the truth may come out if a fair probe is done. The team actually wants to influence the investigation. What the BJP is doing is plain politics, crude and disgraceful. Were fact-finding teams formed to probe [rape cases] at Hathras and Unnao [in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh]?” In 2020, expelled BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar was sentenced to life for raping a girl in Unnao in 2017.

The BJP earlier sent another fact-finding team to Bengal to look into the massacre of nine people following a TMC panchayat leader’s murder in Birbhum on March 21. The report named another TMC leader.

Banerjee rejected the report, which was submitted to Nadda, on Birbhum violence saying it will influence the CBI probe into the massacre and derail it. Nine people died in an arson attack in Birbhum in the aftermath of the murder.

TMC has repeatedly accused the BJP-led Centre of interferences in Bengal and misusing central agencies against the state government.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)