The BJP raised allegations of crimes against women in Bengal in a desperate bid to counter the attack launched by Mamata Banerjee on the harassment of women in the BJP-ruled Manipur in her Martyrs’ Day speech on Friday.
Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar and Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee addressed a news conference at the party’s national headquarters in Delhi and listed multiple incidents of women being allegedly dishonoured, especially during the recent panchayat polls.
Chatterjee even broke down while describing how a BJP candidate in Howrah had been disrobed and molested inside a polling booth.
“Trinamul goons touched the private parts of our female candidate. Not just that, a female candidate of Trinamul itself was molested inside the counting station on July 11,” a sobbing Chatterjee alleged.
Majumdar on the other hand alleged that two women — one in Alipurduar and another in Birbhum— had been disrobed and paraded in their villages. Although he admitted that those incidents were not politically motivated, Majumdar said they showed the plight of women in a state headed by a woman.
According to sources, the BJP finds itself on the back foot over the Manipur issue. The viral video of two Kuki women being paraded naked has put the party in a fix as all Opposition parties have picked it up as a weapon against the BJP.
In such a situation, the party has decided to highlight alleged crimes against women in Trinamul-ruled Bengal.
Bengal DGP Manoj Malaviya later addressed a news conference specifically to dismiss the allegation of molestation in Howrah. Malaviya said a complaint had been received on August 13, following which an FIR was lodged.
“The investigation started after the Howrah (rural) SP received an email on July 13. But so far, no evidence has been recovered,” Malaviya told journalists.
He added that the leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, and a “fact-finding” team sent by the BJP had visited the area concerned, but neither of them had complained of any such incident.
“We had contacted the woman and her family. We wanted to record her statement under Section 164 and also asked her for documents. But no cooperation was received,” he added.
Both Adhikari and Majumdar criticised a programme called by the Trinamul Congress to gherao block-level leaders of the BJP on August 5.
While Majumdar asked whether such a programme spoke well about the state of democracy in Bengal, Adhikari said the party would provide security to workers.