The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Girl harassment cloud on two CPM activists

Durgapur, March 23: A college student was manhandled and her two-wheeler snatched allegedly by CPM activists on Friday near the Kumardihee colliery gate in Pandabeswar because of her reluctance to participate in a party rally and a “chakka bandh” programme.

Samata Sinha lodged an FIR with the Pandabeswar police station yesterday, accusing two CPM workers — Guruprasanna Roychowdhury and Ananta Roychowdhury — of harassing her.

Police are yet to make any arrests, prompting locals to allege that the force will remain inactive as CPM activists are involved.

But additional superintendent of police (Durgapur) Ajoy Ranade said the question of police inaction does not arise. “We will hold an inquiry and take appropriate legal steps against the culprits. The police will work according to the law,” said Ranade.

The alleged involvement of CPM activists in the harassment of a woman again after the incidents at Dhantola and Ghoksadanga will embarrass the CPM before the panchayat polls, barely a couple of months away.

Recalling the incident, Samata said she, along with her mother and younger sister, were travelling to Ukhra guesthouse to attend the readers’ meet of a Hindi daily. When their car reached the colliery gate around 12 noon, the “chakka bandh” in protest against the US attack on Iraq started and all vehicles came to a halt. CPM activists then approached the family and asked them to join a rally they were organising.

Samata pleaded with the CPM workers to let them go to the readers’ meet. “But they would not listen and started abusing us. I left the car and returned home to take my motorcycle. I tried to pass the area on my mobike, but two CPM activists, Guruprasanna and Ananta, stopped me and snatched the bike’s key. I pleaded with them helplessly for the key, but they did not pay any heed and started playing with it,” she said.

The student also alleged that Ananta pushed her, uttered abusive words and slapped her. “They snatched the motorcycle. We then got into our car and returned home. I am yet to get back my motorcycle,” she said.

Samata said some CPM workers threatened her after she lodged the FIR, forcing her to stay indoors. Her mother Gita said the activists asked her to reach a compromise to avoid future harassment.

Sources close to the Sinha family said Samata is supposed to get married next month and the incident has given rise to worries.

The local CPM, however, ruled out involvement of its workers in the incident.

“I have heard of the incident from the police. I also know the Sinha family for a long time. The girl’s complaints are baseless. Our party workers may have asked her to stop her vehicle and join the protest rally against war, but they did not misbehave with her,” said Bali Chand Mukherjee, local CPM leader and a member of the Nabagram panchayat.

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