The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Justice for one, silence for other
- Station goon arrests no solace for housewife

The promise to one wronged woman has been kept, but another is still waiting for the first signs of justice.

Twenty-four hours after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had termed the assault on a young working woman at Hridaypur railway station as “bhoyonkor” (horrible), and pledged to “drag out all the culprits”, eight persons have been arrested. Main accused Polu, however, is absconding.

A gang of men had attacked the 25-year-old woman and molested her on the platform while she was returning home from work on Monday.

She was accompanied by a male colleague, which was enough for her to be made the target of lewd remarks at first and then for hurt and humiliation.

This could come as some consolation for the victim who gave up her job, but for the 22-year-old who was molested at her Chaitanyapur home in Barasat, there was no news of arrest or a pledge of police action from the chief minister.

“I will not comment (on the Barasat molestation) without knowing about the incident,” was all Bhattacharjee would say at Writers’ Buildings on Thursday.

The woman had allegedly been assaulted by a group of DYFI activists (the CPM’s youth wing) at her house on Sunday.

“No arrest has been made in the case,” Kanad Mukherjee, sub-divisional police officer of Barasat, admitted on Thursday.

In her complaint, the victim said she was being harassed for quite a while. Her husband had warned the local youths not to hound her and threatened to take the matter to the police.

Soon after the warning, the DYFI activists barged into the woman’s house and allegedly molested her for nearly half-an-hour in front of her four-year-old daughter. The woman and her husband then filed a complaint with Barasat police station.

Police on Thursday interrogated all family members of the victim, including her husband and 20-year-old sister-in-law. A team of officers from Barasat police station conducted several raids in the area, but to little avail.

“We are conducting raids all over the area. However, there has been no arrest so far,” said officer-in-charge of Barasat police station Sunil Biswas.

According to police, the accused DYFI activists are now on the run. “We shall get them soon, as all of them have been identified,” Biswas said.

Bishal Sarkar, senior Congress leader of Barasat, said the party was “planning to launch an agitation” if police did not arrest the culprits soon.

The woman is not the first victim of the local goons, sources said. According to officials, the same gang had hounded a local resident, Sabita Barik, in 1999.

Her husband, Ranjit, had protested the harassment but the couple had to pay a heavy price — Sabita was tonsured to teach her a lesson.

Although her husband had lodged a complaint with the local police station, no arrests were made. Instead, the goons kept threatening Sabita.

The Bariks finally sold off their plot and property and left the locality a year later.

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