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‘Gangrape leader’ gives up
- CPM denies involvement of cadre & then lines up defence

Cooch Behar, March 10: A day after the CPM leadership denied the involvement of its cadre in the gangrape of a housewife, a local committee member of the party surrendered before the sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s court.

Samiruddin Mian alias Kalsa, prime accused in the rape of the 28-year-old woman from Ghoksadanga, today gave himself up before the court. He was remanded in judicial custody.

The woman accused nine local CPM activists — six of whom she identified — of assaulting her sexually at her Chheramari home under the Ghoksadanga police station on February 22. She was alone with her three-year-old daughter then, with her husband, elder daughter and mother-in-law away.

The CPM had insisted that its men were in no way involved in the rape. District party secretary Chandi Pal had rubbished the allegations as “baseless and intended to malign us before the rural polls”. “It is a conspiracy hatched by the Trinamul Congress to defame us before the panchayat elections,” Pal said.

But Mian’s surrender has caught the party on the wrong foot, especially in the light of state CPM secretary Anil Biswas’ claim yesterday that the “accused were not even our supporters”.

CPM minister and senior leader from Cooch Behar Dinesh Dakua said in Calcutta the party would extend all support to Mian.

Dakua, the minister for tourism, said Mian is a party member and “the CPM does not desert a comrade on the basis of allegations”.

“We don’t have anything to say about the police investigations. The party has initiated a probe into the matter. If we find Samir Mian is really guilty, we will take action against him. We will stand by him until and unless he is proved guilty,” he said.

The woman has returned to her parents in Paradubi village to “save myself from the CPM workers”. “CPM leaders have posted their cadre at my in-laws’ residence. I will be killed if I return to Chheramari,” she said.

CPM local committee secretary Narayan Sarkar and his colleague Dayal Das visited Chheramari and spoke to the woman’s mother-in-law today.

Sarkar refused comment. “The district secretary will say whatever there is to say,” he said.

Grabbing the stick to beat the CPM with in the run-up to the panchayat elections, the Opposition has piled the heat on the party. Trinamul submitted a petition to Cooch Behar district magistrate Chandan Sinha, demanding capital punishment for the guilty.

The women’s wing of the SUCI, which has called a 12-hour bandh in Ghoksadanga on Wednesday, demonstrated in front of the office of police superintendent Praveen Kumar.

House furore

Sinking differences, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul and the Congress today jointly staged a walkout in the Assembly when Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim refused to admit an adjournment motion to discuss the alleged gangrape of the woman in Ghoksadanga.

Trinamul wanted the House to be adjourned for a discussion on the incident as “the woman belongs to the CPM and those who had raped her also belong to the same party”.

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