By Team FI
Maitree, a women’s rights network in West Bengal, has demanded an apology from the State Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee. The CM allegedly made insensitive comments casting aspersions on the victim of Kolkata gang rape.
A 37-year-old woman was raped at gunpoint in a moving car in Kolkata on the night of 5th February after accepting a lift from the accused. She was returning home from a nightclub. Further, the victim was humiliated by the cops when she went to file a complaint.
The chief minister had dismissed the victim stating the complaint was “cooked up”. However, on Monday, the CM blamed a section of media for distorting her statement.
Here is the excerpt from the open letter written by Maitree.
We, the members of Maitree, are writing to protest against the manner in which the complaint of rape of a woman in a car in Kolkata on Feb 5, 2012 been dealt with by the government, especially the police.
Despite being the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the State, without giving time for investigation, you have stated that the incident is contrived and intended to malign your government. We are extremely apprehensive that your pronouncement will discourage a just and fair investigation. Supreme Court judgements on rape, say that for such cases oral testimony is enough to initiate the case, and sensitivity has to be shown to the assaulted women who come to seek justice.
The Minister of State for Transport and Sports, Mr. Madan Mitra, also made offensive public comments about the lifestyle of the complainant and alleged that the complaint was fabricated to extort money. He said: “She has two children and so far as I know she is separated from her husband. What was she doing at a night club so late in the night?”
A section of the police officials seemed more intent on finding “inconsistencies” in the complainant’s statements, instead of taking action against the police personnel who delayed in filing the FIR, failed to get the medical investigation done in time and misbehaved with the complainant.
At the same time, we would like to point out that there are inconsistencies in the different police versions. Had the police taken a proper attitude from the beginning, the arrests would probably have come much before 18thFebruary and the woman would have had less of a trauma.
Despite the Supreme Court judgements that the name and details of the victim of a rape case must be kept anonymous, these details have been made public.
Not only was there a delay in getting the medical examination done but no woman police personnel accompanied the complainant to the hospital. The law is clear that that immediate forensic investigation is needed.
It takes immense courage for a woman to report rape and sexual assault. It is shocking to see that the complainant is being treated as the wrongdoer in this case.
- An immediate apology from you, the Chief Minister and the Transport Minister for prejudging the issue and casting aspersion on the integrity of the complainant.
- Action against police personnel responsible for mishandling the case and misbehaving with the complainant
- Immediate security for the woman
- Fair and just investigation of the complaint