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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Student organisations hold 12-hour strike over death of minor girl due to rape injuries

The ABVP, the SFI and the AIDSO, on Thursday, demonstrated at multiple locations, seeking exemplary punishment for those involved in the crime

Our Correspondent Cooch Behar Published 28.07.23, 08:01 AM
ABVP supporters demonstrate in front of the office of the Cooch Behar superintendent of police on Thursday. 

ABVP supporters demonstrate in front of the office of the Cooch Behar superintendent of police on Thursday.  Picture by Main Uddin Chisti

Supporters of student organisations hit the streets across Cooch Behar district on Thursday in protest of the death of a minor girl on Wednesday of her rape injuries.

The ABVP, the SFI and the AIDSO, who had separately called a 12-hour students’ strike in the district on Thursday, demonstrated at multiple locations, seeking exemplary punishment for those involved in the crime.

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The strike was near total as only a few students turned up in the schools and colleges. Teachers, however, were present at the educational institutions.

The ABVP supporters, led by district leaders, held a protest march and reached in front of the office of the superintendent of police in Sagardighi of Cooch Behar town. They shouted slogans and questioned the safety of girls and women in the state.

“It is appalling that minor girls are becoming victims of such heinous acts. Here, the girl lost her life. In Malda, another rape incident was reported on Wednesday. We want to know what theTrinamul government is doing to ensure the safety of minor girls and women,” said Subhabrata Adhikari, a leader of the RSS-backed students’ organisation.

As the demonstrations continued in the presence of a large police contingent, the ABVP leaders said they wanted to submit a memorandum to Sumit Kumar, the district police chief.

Cops present said two or three of the student leaders could enter the office to submit the memorandum.

This irked the demonstrators and they demanded Kumar should come out and receive it from them. They burnt the memorandum and continued their protests, which went on for over 90 minutes.

The AIDSO and the SFI also demonstrated in different locations and raised pickets in front of different schools. Asif Alam, the Cooch Behar district secretary of AIDSO, the students’ wing of SUCI, alleged some Trinamul Chhatra Parishad leaders forced some students to attend classes.

“They tore our festoons and banners and forced students to get into schools. In some places, they also attacked our supporters,” said Alam.

District TMCP leaders denied the charges.

“Some organisations tried to foment tension in the district but the students didn’t respond to them. We also want severe punishment of all those involved in the crime,” said a TMCP leader.

On July 18, a 14-year-girl from a village in the district went missing. Her family filed a police complaint on July 20. On the same day, the police found her at a private nursing home in Cooch Behar in a critical condition. She was shifted to the MJN Medical College and Hospital where she died on Wednesday. Her autopsy was done and body handed over to her family for the last rites.

During the course of the investigation, police came to know that a youth, Bappa Barman, and four of his associates had abducted her. Bappa later raped her. All five have subsequently been arrested.

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