Bengal rights panel to probe woman's rape, murder

Kolkata, June 26 (IANS) The West Bengal Human Rights Commission Wednesday initiated a probe into the alleged rape and murder of a woman in Murshidabad district, after her husband complained about her "character assassination" by police.

The woman's husband alleged that police claimed the murder was a result of an extramarital affair.

The woman, a mother of two, was found murdered Sunday in Kharjuna village in the district with the family members alleging she was raped before being murdered.

Murshidabad police superintendent Humayun Kabir ruled out rape and claimed the woman was having an extramarital affair and was murdered by her "lover".

"The victim's husband approached the commission saying his wife was raped and accused the superintendent of police of assassinating his wife's character by making baseless claims," said the commission's Joint Secretary Sujay Kumar Haldar.

"The commission will probe the allegations of rape as well as on what basis did the police officer make the claims. The report will be submitted within three weeks," added Haldar.

After the woman's naked body was found in a health centre Sunday, the family members and villagers held demonstrations alleging rape and demanded death penalty for the culprits.

Kabir later went on record saying the woman was not raped but had an affair with a man and wanted to elope with him. He also claimed that the "woman had intercourse with the man before she was murdered".

"This is not a case of rape. The woman was having an extramarital affair with the accused and wanted to elope. But the accused, who too is married, refused and later strangled her to death," Kabir had said after the incident.

One person has been arrested in connection with case.

Villagers have been staging protests for the past few days criticising Kabir for his claims and demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.