The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gangrape suspicion near CM-visit zone

Barasat, April 20: A fortnight after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee went to Deganga to see Jahanara Khatoon, an undergraduate who was murdered after a failed bid to abduct her, the body of a 15-year-old girl was found this morning in neighbouring Swarupnagar.

From the marks of injury on her, police suspect that Tajmira Khatoon was gangraped. She hardly had any clothes on when her body was recovered, huddled against a date palm tree at Morolpara village in Taranipur block, about 25 km from here.

“We suspect that Tajmira was gangraped from some external marks of injury and circumstantial evidence. We can, however, be sure about it only after we get the post-mortem report,” said North 24-Parganas superintendent of police Basudeb Bag.

The incident comes at a time when the spate in gangrapes is threatening to blow up into an issue in the panchayat poll campaign and embarrass the government. Jahanara was killed trying to resist youths abducting her. Her parents and brother were stabbed.

The events leading up to last night’s “gangrape” are rather mysterious with several versions doing the rounds and a motive behind the act yet to be established.

The police said Tajmira’s father Mojammel Mollah, whom they went to arrest from his home after Saturday midnight on an old charge of drunken brawl, did not know that his daughter was not at home. He did not say anything in this regard at the police station. None of her family members lodged a complaint that she was missing till her body was recovered around 5.30 am today.

A section of the villagers said the police went to the house twice. First around 7 pm, when a group of five policemen arrived in a jeep to look for her father. They left soon after being told that he had not returned home. Sources in Swarupnagar said as soon as the police party left, a group of youths knocked on the door, identifying themselves as the police.

As Tajmira opened the door, the youths gagged her and carried her away.

Subdivisional police officer Sisir Das denied that there was a police team at the house around 7 in the evening. “The police only went to pick up Tajmira’s father about half-an-hour after Saturday midnight to execute an arrest warrant,” said Das.

Police officials pointed out that they found it strange that no family member mentioned that Tajmira was missing from home when the team went to arrest her father after midnight.

“Mollah was at the police station throughout Saturday night but he never mentioned her daughter’s disappearance from home,” said Das.

The sources in Swarupnagar said the villagers came to know Tajmira was missing when they went to the house during Mollah’s arrest. But they did not move at night. In the morning, the villagers launched a search operation and stumbled upon the body near a pond.

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