Kolkata's image takes a beating as rape victims leave city

Kolkata's image takes a beating as rape victims leave city

The image of the city, which has been eroded recently by rising number of crimes against women, took another beating as the Kolkata Police submitted an incomplete charge sheet in the case of an Irish woman who complained of rape on June 1.

With the molestation case of a South Korean woman in March facing a similar fate, the French woman, who was molested on Saturday by four men in the Jodhpur Park area while her male companion was assaulted, did not feel hopeful about getting justice. 

According to sources, the victim, a researcher and an intern with the Alliance Francaise du Bengale, the French cultural mission, left the city, leaving her studies incomplete. She reportedly told her friends here that she does not have much faith in the Kolkata Police.

The police had managed to arrest Kamal Naskar, the prime accused, after the French woman and her companion, along with some Bengali friends, went to lodge a formal complaint. 

The police even managed to arrest two others and launched a manhunt for the fourth man, following Naskar’s interrogation. However, improper framing of charges led to Naskar getting a bail. 

Improper handling

The poor handling of the case took away the little confidence that the victim had. Already traumatised by the incident in which she was chased by the four men on motorbikes through narrow lanes, the accused getting a bail was enough to force her out of the country.

In the case of the Irish woman, who was allegedly raped two months ago, the police arrested Sujoy Mitra, son of a businessman. Sujoy had met the foreigner at a nightclub and brought her to his residence on the pretext of giving her a lift till Kalighat in south Kolkata, where both of them lived, she in a budget hotel close to his house. 

She alleged that he got her drunk and raped her. Mitra was arrested and remanded in judicial custody. However, the city police, who placed the charge sheet in the case before a city court, did not include the necessary forensic report. 

Senior officers from the detective department of Kolkata Police claimed that the Hyderabad-based Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory was yet to send its report. 

“We did not want Mitra to get bail. We filed the charge sheet so that (in the worst-case scenario) he will be remanded in judicial custody,” a senior officer said. 

Not everybody, however, is ready to toe the police line. Advocate Subhojit Ray of Calcutta High Court said submitting a charge sheet without the forensics report would give a chance for the accused to walk free. 

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