West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday hit out at at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Uttar Pradesh over the Lalitpur minor rape case. Speaking at a state event in Kolkata, Banerjee said her government in Bengal takes “strict action against illegal activities regardless of the political colour, unlike (what happens in) UP”.
The Laliput incident in which a station house officer (SHO) sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl who had come to file a complaint of gang rape has created a national uproar. According to reports, the girl was lured to Bhopal, about 240km from Lalitpur, by four men who sexually assualted her for three days and then left her near the Pali police station.
Initially, the SHO, now arrested, handed the girl over to her family. But later, he called her back to he police station on the pretext of recording her statement, and allegedly raped her there. The incident sent shockwaves across the country with Opposition parties raising concerns over the deteriorating law and order in the country’s most populous state.
Banerjee said nobody would dare do such a thing in Bengal. “A tortured woman who has been trying to lodge a complaint has again been tormented in Uttar Pradesh. In Bengal, nobody dares to do something like this,” the TMC supremo, a vocal critic of the BJP, said.
“We take strict action against those involved in illegal activities without looking at political colour. We do not spare even those belonging to our parties,” she added.
Banerjee further said she cared about democracy for her people and did not pay heed to what her critics had to say about her. “Those who celebrate Durga Puja also celebrate Eid. We celebrate all festivals together,” Banerjee added.
The TMC leader also challenged her critics to come with issues regarding her governance. “It has been 11 years of our (TMC) government. If anyone has guts, they can challenge and face me regarding what I have done in these years.”
The event was organised to launch a mass outreach programme on the lines of its previously successful ‘Didi ke Bolo’ (Talk to Didi) initiative.
The Trinamool Congress government has been facing a barrage of criticism over a series of alleged rape cases and the recent Birbhum killings, besides political violence since the last Assemby election.
Earlier this month, a 14-year-old girl died after she was allegedly gangraped by the son of a panchayat member owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Nadia district.
In March, eight people, including two children, were killed after their houses were allegedly set on fire, after local TMC leader was murdered in a crude bomb attack.
(With agency inputs)