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Rape poser to govt

Calcutta, Jan. 9: Calcutta High Court today directed the additional home secretary to file an affidavit by January 16 stating whether the state government was considering handing over the Madhyamgram rape and murder case to the CBI.

The court also told the state to provide adequate security to the family of the 16-year-old, who was allegedly burnt to death.

“After receiving the affidavit, this court will decide whether it would apply its judicial power on the issue or not,” Justice Dipankar Dutta said in his order.

The girl was allegedly gang-raped twice in Madhyamgram last October and set on fire in the family’s one-room rented accommodation near the airport area in Calcutta on December 23. The family shifted to the airport area after allegedly being forced out of Madhyamgram in North 24- Parganas.

Justice Dutta’s order followed a petition by the father of the girl seeking a CBI probe.

The girl’s father’s counsel, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, pleaded before the court that Madhyagram police had taken the case lightly from the beginning and her second rape and then death could have been avoided if the police reacted soon after the FIR was filed on October 27 after the girl was raped the first time.

Bhattacharyya said: “On October 25, the 16-year-old victim was first raped by the miscreants. The next day, her father, along with her, went to lodge a complaint with the Madhyamgram police station. They had to wait at the police station from 9am to 7pm to lodge the complaint.

“After the complaint was lodged, some people started threatening the family to get the complaint withdrawn. The family had to leave their home. But the miscreants traced them to their new home on December 12…. Finally, the girl was set on fire and she died at SSKM hospital….”

Opposing the petition, advocate-general Bimal Chatterjee said the state government had taken “all possible steps to try the culprits”.

The judge then asked: “But why is your police not providing protection to the family?”

Government pleader Ashok Kumar Bannerjee said: “How can we protect them? They have already taken political shelter.” But the judge said: “This court is not here to see the political colours of the petitions. It is the duty of the state and the police to protect every citizen.” The advocate-general intervened at this point. “You are right, my Lord. We will take care of them.” The judge said: “The state will have to provide enough protection to the family.”