WB finally wakes up to gang-rape case

Government to seek harsh punishment for rapist

WB finally wakes up to gang-rape case

Seemingly on the back foot over the death of a 16-year-old gang-rape victim, the West Bengal government tried to make amends by stating that it would seek the harshest possible punishment for the accused.

In an unprecedented move, Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra addressed a press conference to clear the air over the incident that led to widespread protests not only from the opposition, but also from a section of the civil society. 

The Mamata Banerjee-led government, which earlier for denying incidents of rape, also seemed to have learnt its lesson.

In a change from the way the government had reacted in case of earlier incidents of gang-rape and murder, the state’s senior most bureaucrat told reporters that all steps are being taken to ensure that the guilty are punished. “We strongly deplore all acts of sexual violence. We took prompt action in the case and all six accused were arrested within five days. We’ll seek maximum possible punishment,” Mitra said.

The chief secretary said the state government would provide all legal and financial assistance to the victim’s family.

He, however, cleared the administration’s stand against the Left’s attempts to bag the limelight on January 1 by taking over the victim’s body. “We strongly deplore the tendency to create politics over a dead body,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the two main accused have been charged with murder after the victim said in her dying statement that she was set ablaze. Doctors also said the victim was pregnant at the time of her death. The victim, who came to Kolkata from Patna in July to live with her father,  was gang-raped twice in October, the second time after she was returning home after filing a police complaint.

The incident drew the attention of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh to the family and assured all help.

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