The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rape cloud on CPM thickens

March 26: Rape allegations continued to dog the CPM, with a woman in Purulia today accusing a panchayat samiti sabhapati of the crime.

In Burdwan, the father of a minor girl lodged an FIR that his daughter was molested by the son of a leader of the party’s Ganatantrik Mahila Samiti.

The woman, a resident of Dhatka village in Purulia, demanded justice for the “physical and mental torture” that she went through. She claimed that the sabhapati, Dhanu Rajak, had forced her into a relationship. Rajak is a district CPM member and hails from the same village.

On March 2, she lodged an FIR with the Bandwan police station saying that the sabhapati had “blackmailed” her into having a sexual relationship “against my wishes”.

The woman told The Telegraph that “the sabhapati offered me Rs 20,000 and a job for my brother”. “The officer-in-charge of the police station also asked me to withdraw the case,” she said.

“It is because of this man that my husband left me and now Dhanu is threatening to kill my widowed mother and brother. I appeal to the public to help me and my family,” she said.

She alleged that the magistrate “held my hand and took my thumb impression on a document”, purportedly a statement saying that she was withdrawing the case.

Rajak, however, while admitting that he knew the woman, said her allegations had “no basis”. He put it down to a “grand scheme to malign me”.

Purulia police superintendent V.K. Goyal said the “woman did not say anything about the relationship when she was produced in court”. Goyal said she had come up with the same allegation last September.

The Purulia Trinamul Congress and the BJP have decided to use this as a prime plank in the panchayat election campaign.

In Burdwan, the police arrested a youth, son of a woman leader of the CPM’s Paschim Banga Ganatantrik Mahila Samiti, on allegations filed against him that he had molested and attempted to rape a minor girl in the Bijoyram area close to this town last evening.

Deputy superintendent of police, headquarters, Ambika Mukherjee, confirmed that the complaint had been received by the police and that the girl had been sent for medical examination.

Hospital sources said the medical report clearly stated that there were marks on the girl indicating molestation.

“Last evening, I had taken my daughter to the house where I do chores for money, and after I had finished doing the laundry I asked her to hang them out to dry in the small garden of the house. It was then that the youth, Abhijit Lett, grabbed her and dragged her to a vacant space behind a school and molested her,” said the victim’s mother, standing outside the women’s ward of the hospital.

In the police station, Lett claimed that he had been framed. “The local people want to tarnish our family’s reputation and they picked on me as the target.”

then they damaged our village house, forcing my mother to escape for safety,” he said.

Samiti leader, Gouri banerjee, told reporters that Sagari was at best a party supporter, who might have worked for the organisation at some time. “I personally feel that you should not link the samiti with this episode,” Banerjee said.

The Congress, however, was quick to seize the opportunity, coming as it does in the wake of several allegations of rape brought against CPM men, beginning from the Ghoksadanga incident in Cooch Behar to the incidents in neighbouring Birbhum district’s Nanoor area.

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