Mamata would not lend us her ears: Barasat's villagers

Kolkata, June 17 (IANS) Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday went visiting a village in North 24 Parganas district rocked by the brutal gang-rape and murder of a teen, the victim's family and the villagers say they were unable to put forth their grievances.

Banerjee, who visited the gang-rape victim's family at Kamduni village - 25 km from the metropolis - ten days after the incident, said the administration would seek death penalty for the culprits. When a group of women surrounded her shouting slogans about the lack of security, however, Banerjee got enraged and screamed back at the women.

"Stop this CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) politics. I know you all are their people and even those who have been arrested for the gang-rape are all CPI-M people. These goons enjoy support of the CPI-M," said an angry Banerjee.

"Shut up", Banerjee shouted at a woman who was seen pleading before her with folded hands to punish the rapists.

"She entered my house and enquired about my health but before I could say anything she left. What's the use of her visit if the man who has lost his dear daughter in such a tragic manner, cannot state his grievances," the victim's father, a mason, said.

The victim's family, who earlier met Banerjee at the state secretariat, had refused compensation and demanded death penalty for the culprits.

The girl's brother even turned down an offer of a job made by the Trinamool Congress government.

The second-year college student was abducted, raped and killed by a group of youths June 7, when she was returning home after appearing in an examination in Barasat in the district.

Ever since the incident, the villagers have been holding demonstrations seeking death penalty for the culprits as well as better security arrangements in the area.

"We have been protesting all these days, seeking to talk to her. But today (Monday), when she visited, she did not allow us to talk to her. Instead she called us CPI-M people. We have nothing to do with politics," one woman villager said.

"Instead of talking to the women, she was busy discussing with her own party followers. When we said why don't you talk to the women, why don't you listen to our grievances, she asked us to shut up," another woman said.

Barasat, the district headquarters has been steadily gaining notoriety with regular reports of eve-teasing and molestations.

A Congress parliamentarian during his visit to the gang-rape victim had advised people here to "take up arms to protect your self respect".

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