Mamata Banerjee has been caught in a controversy of her own making in West Bengal over a rape that left Kolkata cold. The city is usually considered safe for women, especially when compared to other metros like Delhi or Mumbai. Remarkably, Ms Banerjee had dismissed first reports of the case as an attempt to defame her government. Here are 10 big facts on the case:
- The chief minister met this morning with the city's senior-most police officials, reportedly to discuss their progress in investigations.
- Three men were arrested on Saturday; two others are missing.
- At a rally in Kolkata yesterday, the CPM, which was defeated by Ms Banerjee in elections last year, targeted the chief minister for her insensitive handling of the case.
- On the night of February 5, the victim was at a pub at Kolkata's famous Park Street. A man who befriended her at the pub offered her a ride home in his Honda City. When she climbed in, there were two men in the car. But soon, another three entered the vehicle. She was raped at gunpoint.
- The victim filed her police case a few days later, on February 9. She says she had been traumatised by the event and needed some time to recover before going to the police with her story.
- The victim, who is 37-years-old, alleges that the police mocked her when she tried to get a case registered. Officers allegedly used the fact that she had been at a pub to judge her character.
- The media began reporting on the story last week. As the police announced that it was searching for the rapists, the Chief Minister said the case had been fabricated to malign the government, triggering a debate about her perceived insensitivity.
- The investigation was complicated by the fact that the men involved assumed other people's names when introducing themselves to the victim. When the police searched Facebook for their photos, the images did not match the men who the victim had met.
- Footage from security cameras installed near the pub that the woman visited helped the police identify the men who drove away with her.
- Medical tests on the victim were conducted on February 14. Sources say that the reports do not confirm rape, but doctors attribute this to the delay between her assault and her medical check-up.