SFI Delegation Visits Dhupguri

On 6th September, a SFI delegation with Ritabrata Banerjee, General Secretary, SFI and MP, Rajya Sabha, Debajyoti Das; Secretary and Madhuja Senroy; President of the West Bengal State Committee of SFI visited Dhupguri.

A teenage school girl was brutally gang raped and murdered by Trinamool Congress goons at Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri district late on 2nd September, and later her naked body was dumped along the railway tracks. The girl Himani Burman, a Class X student, had protested the manner in which her family, CPI(M) supporters, were penalized and ostracized in a kangaroo court convened by Namita Ray, a local Trinamool Congress councillor. The victim’s father Anukul Burman, had a long-standing tiff with Trinamool Congress supporter Anil Burman, his neighbour, on the mode of payment for using a power tiller for cultivating their land.

At Burman’s behest, Namita Ray convened the kangaroo court to ‘settle’ the dispute. Though the councillor herself was not present, but her husband Chandrakanta Ray, a former Trinamool Congress councillor was. The spot chosen, was in front of a Trinamool leader Saraswati Ray’s home.

The victim’s family was forcibly dragged there by Anil Burman. They were slapped a fine of INR 40,000 and asked to pay INR 4,000 immediately. They were also asked to leave the village within a month, failing which their home would be burnt down. The family was also assaulted and abused. Her father was to be beaten. At this the schoolgirl put her foot down. She reminded all that it was not only wrong, but also illegal. Then she was asked to lick her own spit. Within sometime, she went missing. Her father and her kin kept searching for her overnight, but could trace her. Tuesday morning, her nude body was found barely 500metres from the spot, along the railway tracks.

The Railway GRP has initiated a case and sent the body for post mortem. However, the family of the victim and the locals fear that the post mortem report could be changed under political pressure of the ruling party which is hell bent on proving it a suicide case.

The victim’s father Anukul Burman lodged an FIR at Dhupguri Police Station against 13 persons including Chandrakanta Ray, for abducting, gang raping and murdering her minor daughter, which the police took reluctantly. Siliguri Railway Police SP Debasish Sarkar said that the Government Railway Police had arrested 2 more persons at Moynaguri in connection with the rape and murder. Initially, a minor aged 14 years was apprehended.

SFI and DYFI observed a ‘Black Day’ in Dhupguri block on 3rd September demanding punishment of the culprits and also put up road blockades on NH-31. On 6th September, a SFI delegation with Ritabrata Banerjee, General Secretary, SFI and MP, Rajya Sabha, Debajyoti Das; Secretary and Madhuja Senroy; President of the West Bengal State Committee of SFI met the victim’s family and assured them of fighting unto the end to bring justice for the slain girl. The SFI delegation was shocked to find the traumatised family in a terrorised state, as they are still being threatened to withdraw the complaints of murder and gang rape. They are even being allured of monetary compensation on the part of the Trinamool Congress, which they have bravely refused.

 The SFI delegation then went to submit a deputation at the Dhupguri Police Station. But the Officer-in-Charge of the PS turned out to be nothing short of a state government-appointed pimp, and misbehaved with the delegation and adamantly tried to prove it a suicidal case. Then the delegation met the SP of Jalpaiguri Police, Kunal Agarwal, who listened to their points and asked for all the evidences the delegation had.  The delegation returned to Jalpaiguri and organised a road-meeting. Ritabrata Banerjee, Debojyoti Das, Madhuja Senroy and Anjan Sen were the speakers.

The girl, who was gang raped and murdered for protesting her father being beaten, was a Class X student of Baroghoria Dibyajyoti High School and ranked first in the school examinations.

With Trinamool Congress being increasingly under pressure, Trinamool Congress Jalpaiguri District President Sourav Chakraborty commented, “Rape is a social malady, which will continue happening and so will be accusations. The more the accusations grow, so will grow our party membership.”

While this very comment once again points blatantly to the gender insensitiveness of Trinamool Congress and nakedly portrays the lumpen culture of the party throughout its rank and file,  a walk down the memory lane would remind us that all the victims have been protestant characters and stood up to the oppression and braved the socio-economic and political odds , be it the college student in Kamduni, or the school student in Madhyamgram or here in Dhupguri. This trend of raping and murdering protestant girls from the oppressed section of the society should make us anxious even more, because it might hinder the fight and create hesitation in the girls and women braving the social odds and fighting against patriarchal dictums and economic oppression to make their mark in the society and lead to women’s emancipation.

7th September 2014