Purulia, April 2: Opposition party activists here have united to demand the arrest of the Bandwan gram panchayat sabhapati, a CPM leader against whom rape charges have been filed.
On Monday, supporters of the Trinamul Congress, BJP and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha blocked roads to Bandwan, demanding Dhanu Rajak’s arrest. Senior police officials had to rush to the spot as the protesters immobilised state highways for almost two hours.
Yesterday, over 150 SUCI activists held a demonstration in front of the office of the district superintendent of police. More than 105 protesters were arrested when the police broke up the demonstration.
The Opposition parties will highlight the rape charge and police inaction against the accused in their campaigns before the panchayat polls. “The high-handedness of CPM leaders and cadres can no longer be tolerated,” said district Trinamul secretary K.P. Singh Deo.
A 22-year-old woman from Dhatka village filed an FIR at the Bandwan police station on March 2, alleging that Rajak, from the same village, had forced her to have a physical relationship. “Dhanu Rajak threatened me and my family if I did not agree to his wishes,” she said. “This has been going on since last September. When my family fixed my marriage to a person from Jharkhand, he agreed to let me go, provided I continued the relationship. But when my husband came to know, he immediately divorced me,” she added.
“I then decided to seek justice, no matter what obstacle came in the way. The man has ruined my life and I will spare no effort to see to it that he is punished.”
Though her allegations are yet to be substantiated, under Article 376, the police are liable to arrest the accused on the basis of the victim’s statements.
“But no action was taken by the police. On the other hand, the woman has said she was approached by the officer-in-charge to withdraw the case,” BJP leader Rabindranath Mahato said.