Kolkata: A woman who is six months' pregnant was allegedly gang-raped in West Bengal. The family says her sister-in-law, who is contesting panchayat polls on a BJP ticket, had refused to withdraw her nomination despite orders from the local Trinamool leaders. The attackers, the family claims, were linked to the Trinamool Congress.
The woman, who is in her 20s, was moved from a local hospital to a state-run hospital in Kolkata, where she is undergoing tests and treatment to ensure there are no complications in her pregnancy.
A First Information Report was filed by the local police, alleging rape, intimidation and dacoity. It names around half-a-dozen people who allegedly attacked her. One of the persons has been arrested.
Local Trinamool Congress lawmaker Arindam Bhattacharya has dismissed the incident as cooked up. "There is no political link," the lawmaker said, adding, "There is a family issue, between husband and wife, and there is an attempt to give that political colour".
The incident occurred around 2 am Sunday in Shantipur, a hub of traditional handloom sarees in Nadia district. The area is around 100 km from state capital Kolkata.
The woman, her three-year-old son and her mother-in-law were the only ones at home when 30-odd men barged into the house and ransacked three or four rooms, the family has alleged. While the ransacking was on, four to five men allegedly stormed into the woman's room and raped her.
The rest of the family was away at the time, allegedly because of the terror spread in the area by the Trinamool cadres. The family used to make cotton sarees for a living.
Union minister Babool Supriyo has complained about the incident to West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. The BJP's state women's wing leader Locket Chatterjee held protests at the Kolkata hospital where the woman has been admitted, demanding immediate action against the culprits.
Bengal is heading for panchayat polls amid massive allegations of violence and interference. The opposition parties have contended that members of the ruling Trinamool Congress were using terror tactics to ensure that other candidates do not contest the elections.
The allegations have persisted despite a Supreme Court order to the Election Commission to hold "fair and free" polls. The matter is now pending in courts after a row over the election date and security arrangements for it.