Kakali Ghosh Dastidar
Bhopal, June 18: Five Trinamul MPs today visited BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh to meet an alleged gang-rape victim, a move planned by Mamata Banerjee to counter trips by central teams of Narendra Modi’s party to flare-up zones in Bengal.
Trinamul MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, Uma Soren, Arpita Ghosh and Nadimul Haque met the woman at a hospital in Khandwa district.
“We are here on a fact-finding mission on the instructions of our leader Mamata Banerjee. We will report to her,” Roy said.
Kakali, Uma and Arpita met the woman in the surgical ward of the hospital while Roy and Haque stood outside.
When reporters asked Roy if Trinamul was “politicising” the alleged rape, he said: “We are here because of humanitarian concerns.”
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was guarded in his reaction to the visit by the Trinamul team, saying as parliamentarians, the MPs were free to travel to any part of the country.
BJP vice-president and Rajya Sabha MP Prabhat Jha was more forthcoming. “This has set a wrong precedent. Law and order is a state subject and an issue like rape cannot be observed and studied,” he said, adding that there were “conflicting” reports on the alleged gang rape.
Home minister Babulal Gaur said police were probing the case. The woman was allegedly gang-raped on June 10 but a police complaint was lodged three days later. She was allegedly raped by 10 persons, including her husband. The accused have been arrested on the basis of the woman’s complaint.
The Trinamul leadership today told party leaders from East Midnapore to bury their differences and work together.
Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy chaired a meeting in the Assembly with 15 of the 16 party MLAs from the district and instructed them to restructure the organisation along the lines of the CPM’s zonal and local committees.
“The MLAs were told to write to Partha Chatterjee or Subrata Bakshi in case of any problem,” a senior leader said.