The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Threats after torture and tonsure

Calcutta, July 16: Anjali Haldar, the nurse who was tortured and tonsured for her alleged involvement with her children’s private tutor, was faced with a fresh ordeal today.

Local leaders of the CPM tried to restrain her from approaching the human rights commission.

On learning about the intentions of Anjali and her father Kalipada Mondol to move the rights panel, local CPM leaders trooped to their house at Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas and threatened them. Stay away from the commission or face dire consequences, the leaders of the ruling CPM told Anjali.

On July 3, she was stripped and thrown into a pond in the locality with her two children, dragged out, tonsured and paraded. Her parents were beaten up when they tried to interfere.

The moral police, apparently comprising CPM cadre and members of a local club, had barged into their house that day alleging that she had a relationship with Prabin Mallick, who came to the house to tutor the children. The cadre were led in the attack by Prabin’s wife Shubhra. The mob accused Anjali of ruining Prabin’s married life.

The following day, Kalipada lodged a complaint with Sonarpur police station but both police and the local goons threatened them with serious consequences if they took the legal route.

“The police allowed the goons to move freely in the area. As an eyewash, they detained two persons and then let them go,” alleged Kalipada.

The Mondols quietly waited for police action over the next 10 days and finally contacted Trinamul Congress MLA Nirmal Mandal. The legislator assured them help.

Ratan Chatterjee, a neighbour, said: “I am certain that if we fail to give Anjali and her family a base from where they can fight the misery they are facing now, it will be very hard for them to survive, mentally and financially.”

Braving the threats, with their neighbours’ support, the father and daughter decided to approach the rights panel. They also met Mamata Banerjee.

Officer-in-charge of Sonarpur A.K. Chakraborty said 10 people were detained today for interrogation. However, Kalipada said none of those detained were named in the FIR. The real culprits are still roaming in the area.

“We are not giving out the names of the persons detained for the sake of investigation and more arrests are likely to be made soon,” Chakraborty added.

As Anjali is still not in a position to join work and her father’s income not enough to maintain a family of five, neighbours have extended helping hands. “We have raised funds to support the family. Their income has almost come to nil,” said Tapan De, a neighbour.

The district CPM leadership said it will conduct its own inquiry. “I have asked the local leaders to find out the culprits. If any one of them belongs to our party, they will not be spared,” said Shantimoy Bhattacharya, the district secretary of the CPM.

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