December 31, 2012

(part 4) abuse of women/girls -- india's shame

While one did not expect the horrific crimes against women and girls in India to come to a halt, at least one new case of a horrific rape in West Bengal state does not fail to shock and outrage as much as the Delhi gangrape did. The woman was murdered after the rape and her husband was attacked with extreme brutality. 

I pray for the soul of the woman to get healed and my heart goes out to her husband and children. This incident, as reported in the media, is very difficult not to get affected by. The rapists need to be brought to justice swiftly and with the severest punishment. The idea, here, is not just about punishment but about the most stringest deterrent message it will send out to men in all parts of India.

Here are 2 newsreports which, among others, reported on the horrific incident:

'Raped' wife dead, man critical
TNN | Dec 31, 2012

KOLKATA: Fifty-two-year-old xxxxxx xxxxxx wakes up with a start every 15 minutes in his ICU cubicle at RG Kar Medical College Hospital. Eyes wide open in horror and gasping for breath, he asks for his wife, who was allegedly gang raped and bludgeoned to death at Sonakharki in Barasat on Saturday evening.

"They are killing her. Please do something," he mumbles hoarsely, before lapsing back into unconsciousness. Doctors say xxxxxxx is in critical condition, his throat scorched by a chemical that was allegedly forced on him by the attackers. His condition worsened suddenly on Sunday morning after which he was shifted to ICU. He has not been told about his wife's death.

"He says he is burning up inside ever since an acid-like liquid was pushed into his mouth by the gang. Every time he wakes up, he breaks into tears. His limbs are still shaking and he is repeatedly falling unconscious," said xxxxxx xxxxxx, a neighbour who has been with him since he was brought to RG Kar on Saturday night. xxxxxxxx isn't poor but took up work at a brick kiln to raise money for his four-month-old grandson who has a kidney ailment.

From his fragmented accounts, xxxxxxxx's son xxxxxx and xxxxxx have reconstructed a horrific tale. He had gone to the brick kiln to escort his 45-year-old wife home around 6.30pm when he saw a few men dragging her away into a bamboo grove. It was dark and barring a house, there is no settlement in a 100-metre radius. xxxxxxxx says he ran to rescue her.

"But there were around seven of them. While four raped his wife, the other three pinned him down, tied him and poured acid down his throat. He tried to scream but they shut his mouth with the bottle. After a while, he gave up fighting because his throat and chest had been singed and he had no strength left in him. The ordeal must have lasted about 15 minutes," said xxxxx. xxxxxxx could apparently see his wife being battered.

Nightmare on Barasat streets
By Sanjib Chakraborty, TNN | Dec 31, 2012

KOLKATA: Barasat, it seems, has gone back to the dark ages with the crimes against woman continuing unabated. The retail and real estate boom, that was to make it Bengal's Noida, has instead brought to it the vices seen in the 'badlands' of north India. The alarming rise in the crime graph has left women afraid and insecure in the area.

Aparna Roy (24), a fashion designer, said she was at an exhibition on July 27 when she received frantic calls from her parents. An On that evening, just an hour before she was to return home, an 18-year-old girl was molested by some drunken youths near platform No. 1 of the busy Barasat railway station the same day. Again, the audacity of the criminals had shocked the town that serves as the district headquarters of North 24-Parganas.

Saturday's murder spot is barely 6 kilometres from the Barasat district town, where crimes like molestation, eve-teasing, rape and subsequent against women like molestation, eveteasing, rape and subsequent murder have become a common phenomenon now.

Saturday's tragedy occurred at Sonakharki under Kokapur gram panchayat area in Barasat. The area is surrounded by several brick kilns, where hundreds of people hailing from states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha work. Locals alleged that a gang, active in the area, are involved in several crimes in the locality. According to sources, the gang operates illicit liquor business among the brick kiln workers and even the women workers are forced to join flesh trade by the gang members.

A local, on the condition of anonymity, said, "We are always scared to step out of our houses after dark, as some local goons, along with some brick kiln workers, drink openly and are also involved in several crimes. Some places in the area have become criminal hubs. The drunken men are also involved in drunken brawls which led to the attack on each other.

Despite our repeated appeals, police hardly take action against them."

Sources said another woman, a brick kiln worker, was gang-raped and murdered in the same area two years back and two persons, including a panchayat member and a local criminal, were arrested in this connection.

On Sunday there was a panic among the local residents of Sonakharki following the brutal murder of a homemaker even the panick stricken women refused to say anything in this connection. The family members of xxxxxx  xxxxxx, the owner of the house is barely 10 metres from the murder spot were severely panicked following the heinous crime took place on Saturday . The xxxxx's house is only the residence at the murder spot and adjacent to the pond where xxxxx's body was lying. " After the dark the area which is surrounded by the bamboo trees is turned into an isolated and we do not dare to step out from the house. Around 7 p.m. on Saturday I just returned home and was taking a rest while we heard a chaos. Initially I thought it as a drunken brawl which is common in the area and feared to come out from the house. Later while I realized something was wrong I rushed out and found the woman's body lying beside the pond in a naked condition. We are feeling very insecure to live here with my family members," said xxxxx.

xxxxxx  xxxxxxx, a local youth said that the woman, the victim was very good in her behavior. "She loved her family very much and used to think well-being of her family members. She was very happy that she earned something to cure her little grandson which she told us several times. But the criminals did not spare even a middle aged-homemaker and brutally killed her after abusing her sexually," said xxxxx

"It's a matter of shame that such criminal activities take place so close to the police station. In fact, the crimes are patronized by the police. If proper raids are carried out, criminals from several parts of Bengal, who take refuge here, can be nabbed," said advocate Gouranga Pal. On July 25, Pal and his family were assaulted and driven out of their home in Subhas Nagar for protesting against a neighbourhood grocer selling liquor at his shop. Pal said he got police protection only after he moved the Calcutta high court, but the miscreants haven't been arrested yet.

Subhas Nagar is about a kilometre from Kadambagachhi, where Bikash Bandhu Mullick, a homoeopath, was murdered recently. After Bikash Bandhu's murder, police were under tremendous pressure. The SP was also removed.

But after this brief hiatus, the Saturday incident returned to haunt the residents of Barasat with 45-year-old homemaker xxxxxxx xxxxx being gangraped and brutally murdered near her residence at Sonakharki on Saturday evening. The woman was hit hard on her head with a blunt weapon after she was being allegedly raped by around six persons. The goons also attacked her husband xxxxxx xxxx and poured acid in his mouth while he tried to resist the goons to protect his wife. The woman died at the spot and her husband is still fighting for his life in RG Kar hospital.

Kanishka Niyogi (Mangalore)
Barasat was a peaceful town during the '80s & much of the '90s as well. The town was home to decent, cultured, educated middle class people. Many would choose to settle there after retirement. Problems started when Barasat's connectivity with Kolkata improved. With travelling time between Kolkata & Barasat greatly reduced, the latter saw a boom in real estate. The real estate boom brought the promoters & with the promoters came the criminals. Syndicates cropped up too that would supply building materials. The CPM had managed to keep these elements under a leash. However, with the current CM having rushed to her local police station to get her men involved in a brawl released, criminals not just in Barasat but the entire state are now an emboldened lot. On numerous occassions of crime, Mamata & her men have been found to be looking for faults in the victim of a crime & not its perpetrators. This seems to have given anti-socials a feeling that they are beyond the reach of the law with the victims of a crime themselves being put under scrutiny. Insensitive remarks on crimes against women have been made repeatedly. This particular incident has been no exception with Firhad Hakim finding it to be a fall out of a family dispute. Such a dismissive attitude of people in the ruling party towards crime has given criminals a free run. That's the reason for the recent spurt in crime in the state. I feel apprehensive about how much worse things can get. After Firhad Hakim's callous statement on this incident, I have a feeling that Mamata & her men aren't at all serious about tackling the rise in crime, especially those against women.

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