The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nandigram rape cry

Midnapore, March 4: A CPM supporter’s wife has alleged that she was gangraped on Saturday afternoon by five men opposed to land acquisition in Nandigram.

The 35-year-old woman said after the assault, she, her husband and two teenage sons were confined to their house by the alleged rapists and a group belonging to the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee, which has been formed to resist the takeover of land for industry.

She said the family late last night fled Kalicharanpur village, 170 km from Calcutta, to a CPM camp, where they had taken refuge since the January flare-up in Nandigram. The CPM had set up camps in Tekhali for those fleeing the land backlash in Nandigram.

Scared to return to Nandigram, the woman lodged a complaint at Tamluk police station this afternoon and was sent for medical tests.

“According to our preliminary findings, the rape has taken place. There are several injury marks on her body. We have launched a hunt for the accused persons,” said Anil Srinivasan, the East Midnapore superintendent of police.

Abu Taher, the convener of the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee in Nandigram, however, said the “entire story was fabricated by the CPM to malign us”.

The head of the family, Nandalal Giri, said they had fled the village after the mid-January clashes in which at least seven people died.

Nandalal told the police that the panel members had threatened him for not taking part in anti-acquisition processions and not flying the committee’s flag atop his hut.

“From February, we used to visit our house and started cultivating pulses on another person’s plot. We are very poor and we needed the crop. So we visited our house to tend to the crop,” his wife said in the complaint.

On Friday evening, she and one of her sons went to the house. The 17-year-old son went to the field on Saturday morning.

“Around 12.30 pm, I saw a local Congress leader and four others tiptoeing towards our thatched house. I tried to bolt the bamboo-framed door but they kicked it open. Then they raped me,” the woman said in the complaint. She added that when her son returned, “those men were still around. They severely beat up my son.”

Nandalal said he reached the house later in the afternoon with the other son. “I found my wife weeping. The villagers said they would bury us alive if we try to leave the village. They put us under virtual confinement. At night we slipped out and fled,” he said.

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