West Bengal: Police Tells Rape Survivor to Come Back After Elections
The survivor, a minor, had filed the complaint 18 days ago but an FIR has not been registered.
A 16-year-old rape survivor was turned away from Jangipur women police station, in Murshidabad district, West Bengal three times on the excuse that the station was short staffed during elections, hence the police cannot lodge an FIR and run a medical test.
Biman Hazra writing for Anandabazar Patrika reported that the girl and her mother went to Jangipur women police station on 18 April. The girl recounted the whole ordeal to the officer-in-charge (OC). She submitted a written complaint against three people, accusing them of kidnap and rape. The OC told reportedly them, “The complaint has been submitted. We don’t have personnel now. Come to us after the elections are over. We will look into the matter then.”
18 days have passed since the initial complaint. Jangipur elections took place on 23 April. The mother and daughter went to the police two more times but were turned away every time, as per the report.
The report further adds that till Sunday evening, the police had not lodged any case of kidnapping and rape. Police have not conducted the girl’s medical test or recorded her statement
Jangipur women police station OC Safari Mondal told Anandabazaar Patrika, “You have no idea how the police station is running! Almost no one was at the station because of elections. That’s why I told them to come to the police station after voting ends. Tell them to come to the station on Monday. I will take action.”
When questioned why she didn’t lodge the FIR herself, she reportedly said, “Lodging an FIR means we had to conduct the medical examination as well. Where will I get the personnel to do that job?”
Jangipur Sub-Divisional Police Officer Prasenjit Banerjee told the newspaper, “A serious offence like rape cannot be brushed aside like this! I will look into the matter immediately. If required I will go to the girl’s house myself to do the needful.”
Sources told Anandabazar Patrika that the girl went to a neighbour’s house on 14 April, from where she went missing. She returned home battered, 3 days later on 17 April. She has alleges that she was kidnapped and taken to Maliyadanga in Sagardighi, Murshidabad. She alleged that the neighbour’s relative confined her in a room and raped for 3 days. When she resisted she was beaten up.
The survivor’s mother told the newspaper, “Only we know the tumultuous times my daughter and the whole family is going through. We took our daughter to the police station three times. That officer is herself a woman. However, she kept ignoring such a serious crime. The accused have still not been caught. After this, why should we go back to the police?”
Trinamool leader and panchayat chief of Sagardighi Bokhara 1 village Saidul Islam told Anandabazaar Patrika, “The family had also told me about the matter. I told them to go to the police. But I can’t believe that the police has still not lodged an FIR.”
The family had approached lawyer Afzal Uddin for help as well. He told the newspaper, “That OC said the same thing to me. On the other hand the Jangipur court is also closed, so we can’t even go there.”
Murshidabad police superintendent Mukesh Kumar told Anandabazar Patrika, “Investigations have started. We are looking into the SDPO’s negligence. Action will be taken against the accused officer for lodging the FIR late.”