Police on Thursday collected from the Kamduni rape-and-murder victim’s family names of five persons who would be escorted to Bankshall court on Friday to attend the trial.
“The high court had directed the government to provide transport to the victim’s family on the day of hearing in Bankshall court. Since the victim’s brother wanted four other villagers to accompany him, we will take all of them to the court on Friday,” a police officer said.
“They gave us five names. They will be picked up around 10am tomorrow, taken to the court and brought back to their village under police protection,” the officer added.
The names include one of the brothers of the college student who was brutally raped and murdered two months ago.
The five were asked to be ready to go to court around 10am.
The criminal investigation department (CID), the agency investigating the case, and the lawyers of the accused had filed a petition before the high court in July seeking transfer of the case from the fast-track court in Barasat to a court outside the area.
Though the victim’s family opposed the petition, the high court passed an order in the second week of August assigning Bankshall court to conduct the trial.
Around 11am on Thursday, two police vehicles drove into the village and stopped in front of a narrow lane leading to the victim’s house. Eight policemen led by Anandamoy Chatterjee, the officer investigating the case, and Nizam Akhtar, the officer in-charge of Sashan police station that was formed after chief minister Mamata Banerjee visited the village on June 17, met the family.
“They (policemen) wanted to know who would go to Bankshall court on Friday to attend the trial. My parents are not up to it physically… travel all the way to the court, spend the day there and return home late in the evening,” said one of the two brothers of the college girl. “I didn’t want to go alone. So I suggested four other names.”
The victim’s brother reiterated his displeasure over transferring the case to Bankshall court from Barasat.
“Going to the court in Barasat was much easier… only half an hour. Now we will have to spend almost the entire day for each hearing,” he said.
A section of villagers in Kamduni feared that switching courts could give an advantage to the accused. “There are more than 50 people mentioned as witnesses in the chargesheet and all of them will have to travel quite a distance to depose before the court. If some of them get stuck in their work and don’t turn up in court, which is far away from our village, the case will weaken,” he said.