Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — under pressure over the death of a minor girl allegedly after gangrape — hit back at critics today, questioning why the body was cremated before a postmortem and the complaint filed five days later. Still, the police has taken action in the case and made an arrest “irrespective of (political) colour,” she asserted. Something like this doesn’t happen in “Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan or Delhi” she went on to add, in a dig at the BJP, Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, which rules these states.
The family of the minor girl — who died after attending a birthday party in south Bengal’s Nadia district — had alleged that she had been gangraped. The son of a local Trinamool leader, the main accused in the case, has been arrested.
“You tell me, if someone dies on the 5th and there are queries and complaints about it — why not file a complaint on the 5th itself? You went ahead and cremated the body? I’m speaking here as a layman, without knowing all of it. How will they (the police) get any evidence? If there was a rape, or pregnancy or any other reason…” the Chief Minister said at function today.
According to reports, the family has claimed that the Trinamool leaders’ son had forced them to cremate the body. The police are looking into the delay in filing of the complaint in the case.
Claiming that family and neighbourhood knew there was also a love affair, she said, “If a boy and girl are in love, it is not my job to stop it. This is not UP, that we will go on about love jihad. It is a freedom (to fall in love)”. The state, she said, will ensure that if there is a crime, action will be taken. In the current case, action has been taken, she said.
“There has been an arrest and we are not looking into any (political) colour here. Please remember, this doesn’t happen in Madhya Pradesh. Doesn’t happen in UP, Rajasthan, Delhi. This is Bengal this happens here. And you are talking of Trinamool, the whole of Bengal is Trinamool. Why drag Trinamool into it?” the Chief Minister added.
But it is the Chief Minister’s critique of the reportage of the case and her questioning of the circumstances leading to the crime, that has left room for further criticism. “This is a land of 12 crore people. Ram Navami was observed across India. So many things happened. Did a single incident take place here?” Ms Banerjee said.
Chiding the media for not giving adequate coverage to incidents related to Ram Navami, she added, “So many festivals take place here. No incidents take place. But if a single incident takes place, even if a small one among many, we don’t like it. But much is made of it. The police still do not know. I asked – you are showing that a girl died after rape. Was it rape, or was she pregnant or a love affair? Have you conducted any inquiry?”
Ms Banerjee’s government, which won a landslide victory last year in face of a BJP challenge, has been under pressure over incidents of political violence, including the recent killings in Birbhum.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has sought an urgent report from the state Chief Secretary on the Nadia case.