MALDA: The brutality on a 30-year-old tribal woman from Kushmandi, gang-raped and left unconscious in the open for over eight hours, has left tribals in the region and neighbouring North Dinajpur fuming even as police arrested two persons for the horrific crime. Just two months ago, the area had seen a similar outburst of anger in neighbouring Raiganj when tribals went on the rampage following the rape of a tribal girl at a bus stand.
This time, chief minister Mamata Banerjee was quick to intervene before the situation slipped out of her hands. Considering the socio-political sensitivity of the attack on a tribal woman that is a fit case for central intervention, the CM left for Malda Medical College soon after her public meeting here ended at 3 pm, without even giving a hint to cops.
Banerjee was, in fact, the first visitor to the Kushmandi woman who was married off to a person in Bihar who later deserted her. She has no one to fall back upon since then. There was even no one to sign the mandatory bond before she was wheeled in for an emergency surgery at the hospital.
The chief minister spoke to doctors regarding the condition of the rape survivor, now in the hospital’s Critical Care Unit (CCU). Banerjee told them to take all possible steps for her recovery, and also promised all help for the tribal woman’s post-hospital life, including building a home for her. “The woman is responding to treatment. She is improving, but not out of danger,” said Malda Medical College vice principal Amit Daw.
Doctors said they would wait for 72 hours before declaring her condition stable.
Meanwhile, tempers flew in the tribal villages when they learnt that police were not coming clear on the time of the incident. Miscreants dragged the woman out of home, gang-raped her in the open and inserted rods in her private parts making her intestine come out. “It all happened on Saturday night. The woman lay in the open for 8-10 hours till police took her to Raiganj Hospital. The hospital treated her and referred her to Malda Medical College early on Sunday,” a Kushmandi villager said.
Police sprung to action only after news of the CM’s visit spread. They rounded up two persons — Ramprabesh Sharma and Andharu Burman of Itahar — on Monday. They were produced at Gangarampur subdivisional court, which remanded them in police custody for 11 days.
Kushmandi Police took care to man sensitive spots in Malda town to avert a rerun of the Raiganj rampage in December. But a large number of tribals gathered under the BJP banner to agitate in front of the Kushmandi police station demanding punishment for the culprits.
Malda BJP president Subhendu Sarkar demanded compensation for the survivor, while RSP leader Biswanath Choudhury demanded exemplary punishment for the culprits.