Kolkata intellectuals demand action in Park Street rape case

Kolkata, Feb 5 (IANS) A section of city intellectuals took to the streets Tuesday to protest the government's "inaction" in the alleged Park Street rape case.

They were protesting the government's apathy in the case, which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had called a "cooked up" incident.

Painter Samir Aich, educationist Sunanda Sanyal, writer-social activist Bolan Gangopadhyay and former Naxalite Asim Chatterjee were part of the march that began from Mahatma Gandhi's statue on Mayo Road. Police stopped the march near Park Street in the heart of the city.

Hundreds of people, including Congress leaders led by its state president Pradip Bhattacharya, participated in the protest.

"The incident was not cooked up as Mamata Banerjee had claimed. It was a true incident. Two of the accused are still free. It has been a year. The culprits should be arrested and proper punishment meted out to them. That is why we are marching to the Park Street police station to file a deputation," Aich said.

An Anglo-Indian woman was allegedly raped at gunpoint in a moving car in the early hours Feb 6 by five men who abducted her from Park Street area.

The incident - and comments by Banerjee and some of her ministerial colleagues - had triggered a furore across the country. Later, the police officer who played a leading role in cracking the case, was shunted to a low profile posting.

Charges are to be framed Feb 19 against the three arrested. Two others, including the prime accused, continues to be at large.

"There has been no change in the state of affairs. This political culture has to change. The chief minister has to change," said educationist Sunanda Sanyal.

The protestors slammed the administration for stopping them before they could enter Park Street.

"We were blocked at Kyd Street just before Park Street. Police did not offer us any explanations. We were stopped at the same spot in 2007 when we had brought out a protest march after the Nandigram (in east Midnapore district) violence. Regimes change but the attitude of the administration remains the same," academician and social activist Miratun Nahar said.

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