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Women’s panel barb at Bengal

Suri, Feb. 11: The National Commission for Women chairperson today said the woman gang-raped in Birbhum was “happy” with the steps taken by police, but concluded after meeting two other women gang-raped in Howrah that law and order had “collapsed in Bengal”.

A three-member team, led by commission chief Mamta Sharma, first met the Birbhum woman in a government home. Sharma said that though the victim was “happy with the police and the district administration’s action”, she feared returning to her village.

Later in the evening, the team visited the two Howrah women from a family of CPM supporters who were allegedly gang-raped by suspected Trinamul supporters earlier this month.

“Law and order has collapsed in Bengal. The state is now the number one in rape cases. The police will have to work harder. The Prime Minister had asked me to look into these crimes against women. I will submit a report to the Centre,” Sharma said before leaving Calcutta.

She said she would speak to chief minister Mamata Banerjee about possible compensation for the Birbhum victim. The trip by the team comes a few days after state Congress leaders claimed that Manmohan Singh had assured them about such a visit.