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Rape victim forced to flee with kids

Dinhata, July 28: A young woman, the mother of two, has been driven out of her village along with her ageing parents for her refusal to stay silent about her rapist.

She had to pay the price for going to court even after her rapist, Ganesh Roy, had paid a 'fine' of Rs 17,000 to the village strongmen at a salisi meeting held soon after the incident.

'A week ago, Roy's relatives broke into our house, ransacked it and threw us out. Since then, we have been staying with my brother,' alleged the mother of the victim. She said her daughter's mistake was that she had filed a complaint against Roy with the Dinhata police.

According to the complaint lodged in the court of the assistant chief judicial magistrate here, the 22-year-old woman was raped by Roy on May 31. 'My husband works in Delhi and I live with my parents and daughters, aged two and 12. On that day, my parents were not at home and taking advantage of that, Roy, who stays next door, broke into our house and raped me,' the victim said. She lodged a complaint at the Nayarhat outpost under the Dinhata police station on the same day.

According to her, within a few days, the influential men of the village held a salisi meeting with Roy and fined him Rs 17,000. 'They asked me to be satisfied with the fine and to withdraw the case. Since I refused to do so, the villagers threatened us and finally drove us out of our home,' she said. Her father said the strongmen had even forced her to sign on a blank sheet of paper.

The victim and her parents alleged that the police at the outpost had done nothing to investigate the case. 'With the police remaining silent, I decided to turn to the court,' the victim said. She lodged a complaint with the assistant chief judicial magistrate's court on July 7.

Cooch Behar police superintendent Anil Kumar said he did not know about the incident since he was out of town. 'This is a serious allegation and I will inquire into the matter and take appropriate action as soon as I return,' he said.

With the name of a local CPM leader being linked to the salisi meeting, the party denied the allegation of asking the victim to withdraw the case. 'These are rumours and our party should not be linked to this incident,' said Benubadal Chakrabarty, a district secretariat member.

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