regular-article-logo Monday, 25 September 2023

BJP plaque shows rape victim name

Suvendu faces Pocso flout charge

Subhasish Chaudhuri Krishnagar Published 07.04.23, 05:22 AM
The memorial with the plaque (not in the picture) built by the BJP in memory of the Hanskhali rape victim

The memorial with the plaque (not in the picture) built by the BJP in memory of the Hanskhali rape victim

Senior BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Wednesday unveiled a memorial that revealed the identity of the Hanshkhali rape and murder victim in violation of the provisions of the Pocso Act, 2012, and the Indian Penal Code.

According to Section 228A of the IPC, disclosure of the identity of a rape victim is a punishable offence. The Supreme Court on December 11, 2018, completely prohibited the disclosure of a victim's identity in any form or medium.


“No person can print or publish in print, electronic, social media, etc. the name of the victim or even in a remote manner disclose any facts that can lead to the victim being identified and which should make her identity known to the public at large. The bar extends to anything which can even remotely be used to identify the victim,” a bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court laid down the rule in their judgment.

Adhikari unveiled the memorial, which has been installed by the local BJP leadership, that has a plaque bearing the name of the girl with details like her birthday and the day on which she died. Several BJP leaders kept mentioning her name while addressing the public meeting organised on the occasion.

Adhikari visited Hanskhali in Nadia district on Wednesday to meet the girl's parents on the occasion of her first death anniversary. The girl had allegedly been gang-raped by the son of a local Trinamul Congress leader on April 4 last year. She subsequently died in the early hours of April 5 and the body was cremated forcibly by the alleged accomplices of the accused.

This is not the first time that BJP leaders violated provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, in the Hanskhali rape case.

BJP MP Rekha Verma, a member of the party's "fact-finding" team, had called on the Class IX girl's family shortly after her death. Verma had disclosed the girl's identity while talking to reporters after meeting her parents.

A senior lawyer of Calcutta High Court, who is also a member of the BJP's legal cell, said it was "unfortunate" that the party had erected a plaque that revealed the identity of a minor rape victim.

Speaking to The Telegraph on condition of anonymity, she said: "This can invite penal punishment for Adhikari."

Senior lawyer and former government pleader Raja Banerjee said: "The act ofAdhikari and BJP leaders is not just illegal but inhuman as well."

"Section 228A of the IPC categorically prohibits the disclosure of the identity of a rape victim. Any such disclosure invites punishment," Banerjee said.

CPM leader and lawyer Debasish Chakraborty said Adhikari had caused great harm by disclosing the girl's name on a permanent structure. "When a case is registered under Pocso Act, no one can name the victim. This is a punishable offence."

BJP's Nadia south committee president and Ranaghat west MLA Parthasarathi Chatterjee, however, claimed "nothing wrong" in setting up the memorial with the victim's details.

The Telegraph tried to solicit Adhikari's response to the controversy but calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

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