Incidents of crime against women in West Bengal, ruled by a woman Chief Minister, do not appear to be abating at all. In a ghastly act of violence, a 20-year-old tribal girl was gang-raped by 13 people allegedly on the orders of a panchayat in Birbhum district as punishment for her relationship with a boy of another community. The woman has been admitted to a hospital where doctors described her condition as critical. The state government immediately swung into action and all 13 accused were arrested after the family lodged a complaint with the police.
The incident has sparked an outrage, with West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan calling for corporal punishment of the accused. Womens groups have termed the incident shameful and said that it is the responsibility of the Chief Minister to ensure that women are protected. The state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya criticised CM Mamata Banerjee for her handling of crimes against women and said that all gram panchayats were controlled by Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
Derek O’ Brien, Trinamool member of the Rajya Sabha, is currently on a tour across West Bengal. On 22 January, he posted a tweet quoting one of his colleagues saying that ‘In 3 months, a set of keys to the 7 RCR will be with a lady in Kalighat, Kolkata’. He was referring to his boss. But with the deteriorating law and order situation in her state, the lady from Kalighat may find it difficult in future to hold even the keys to Writer’s Building.