This Article is From Jan 04, 2014

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee mum as protests continue over death of teen who was gang-raped

Protests in Kolkata over the death of 16-year-old girl who was gang-rape twice

Kolkata: Sporadic protests continued today in Kolkata against the death of a 16-year-old gang-rape victim who, the police revealed yesterday, was set on fire and hadn't committed suicide as was claimed earlier. For the first time, protests also took place in Madhyamgram, a town 90 kilometres away from Kolkata, where the young girl was gang-raped twice in October last year.

A human chain was formed by Congress workers at Kolkata's Hazra More to protest the death of the teen and the subsequent politics over her body. At Metro Channel, the Left Front conducted a drive to raise money for the girl's family.

The teen died of serious burns in a hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday. Cops tried to hijack the body and organize a hasty cremation but were prevented from doing so after the girl's father refused to hand over her death certificate.

In Madhyamgram, locals demonstrated outside the police station - the protests, though, were modest. Activists say it has become difficult to organize protests as people are wary of being labelled politically.

"It's an issue of rights, not an issue of politics. But it's very sad that both the Left and the Trinamool have made it an issue of politics and not of rights," said Anuradha Kapoor of Swayam, a women's rights NGO.

Reacting to the tragedy for the first time, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said, "Who tortured the girl? Who failed to protect the girl? Who failed to save her? We have taken to the streets to save the family. Is that wrong?"

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is yet to react to the incident. One of her ministers, Firhad Hakim, though was critical of the Bihar government's gesture to offer money to the family of the teen.

"There was no need for another state to interfere in this matter," he said.