West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit out at the BJP and the CPI(M) for “defaming” the state over an alleged gang-rape and murder that took place in Nadia district on April 4. Speaking at a virtual meeting with the state police and administration, Banerjee said she will “not let Bengal become Hathras or Unnao.”
“A suicide case was turned into a rape case. The BJP and CPI(M) are both trying to defame Bengal. We will not let Bengal become Hathras or Unnao,” said the chief minister.
Questioning how the incident took place, Banerjee added, “Why did Inspector In-charge not keep forth correct facts? This occurred due to his negligence. It needs to be reported how many people died in your district. Panchayat issues certificates and we don’t even know about it,” news agency ANI quoted her as saying.
Earlier, Banerjee had suggested that the “victim and the main accused were in a consensual relationship” as she drew a distinction between her administration and those run by the BJP in UP.
“Was she actually raped? Was she pregnant? Was there some other reason? Did someone slap her? Was she sick? It is known that there was a love affair. Even her family and neighbours knew about this. I cannot stop boys and girls from falling in love. This is not Uttar Pradesh. I cannot start a love jihad programme. It is a matter of personal liberty,” the chief minister had said in her speech at a government event.
The alleged gang-rape and murder case took place when the victim – a Class 9 student – had gone to a birthday party hosted by TMC panchayat member Samarendra Gayali’s son Brajagopal. According to the police, she had returned home later that night unwell and died a day later due to excessive bleeding. She was cremated in the evening allegedly without a death certificate, the police added.
According to the victim’s father, the TMC leader’s son had forcefully cremated the body and threatened to kill him if he informed the police.
A few days after her death, the girl’s family filed a police complaint against the TMC leader’s son for alleged rape.
While the prime accused – Brajagopal and his friend Prabhakar Poddar were arrested by the state police, the CBI on Sunday arrested three others – Surajit Roy, Akash Garai and Dipto Gayali on charges of destroying evidence and threatening the family of the 14-year-old girl.