The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops deaf to cry of rape
- Policemen showcaused for refusing to register complaint

Belghoria, Sept. 2: Two sub-inspectors and an assistant sub-inspector of Belghoria police station on the city’s northern fringes were showcaused today for refusing to register a woman’s complaint of rape.

The 40-year-old woman, battered and bruised, trudged to the Kamarhati outpost under the police station to lodge a complaint on August 27.

The duty officer and the two other policemen present there refused. “We can only lodge an assault case. There is nothing we can do at the moment,” the officer reportedly said.

The woman from Dhobiabagan, about 20 km from Calcutta, was returning home late that evening from a relative’s house. A group of five youths, sitting in a desolate street corner, picked her out for “some fun”. They made vulgar comments and gestures. “Why don’t you shut up. Let me go in peace,” she shouted. Then she pleaded with them.

The youths were “angry” when she tried to scream for help. Led by a local criminal, identified as Guddu, they slapped the woman first and then beat her up. The gang gagged her and took her to a desolate corner.

All five allegedly took turns in raping her till midnight, before fleeing the area.

Shocked by the police response to her plight, the woman returned home. It was difficult to narrate what happened to her to family members but she managed to do that.

Next morning, escorted by her son Sahabuddin, 23, the woman approached the local MLA, Manas Mukherjee.

She told the CPM leader that the policemen had not even suggested to her that a medical examination could be conducted to ascertain her allegation.

Mukherjee ensured that her complaint was registered with the police, even if it was four days after the crime.

“The policemen have defied a government order by not registering the complaint,” said a home department official at Writers’ Buildings.

North 24-Parganas superintendent of police Basudeb Bag said tonight a departmental probe has been ordered against the policemen. All three have been asked to explain in writing within seven days why action should not be taken against them.

Additional superintendent of police (Barrackpore) Jairaman said “strict action” would be taken against the policemen if they are found to be at fault.

Mukherjee said he was “shocked” by the policemen’s sense of responsibility.

“I spoke to the superintendent, who seemed to be equally perplexed at the police inaction,” Mukherjee said. “There is no doubt that the woman had been subjected to physical and mental abuse, yet the police chose to remain silent and sheltered the criminals,” he added.

Bag has asked the officer in charge of Belghoria, Sekhar Basu, to immediately register a rape case and conduct the necessary medical tests to confirm the woman’s allegation.

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