Plea in Calcutta HC seeks Rs 1 cr compensation for Hanskhali gang-rape victim's family
Kolkata, May 5 (IANS) Anindya Sundar Das, whose petition led the Calcutta High Court to order a CBI probe into the alleged gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Hanskhali in West Bengal's Nadia district, has now sought an interim compensation of Rs 1 crore for the family of the victim.
His latest petition, moved through advocate Phiroze Edulji before the bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava on Thursday, comes a couple of days after the CBI submitted a status report on its findings in the matter.
"In the latest petition, we have stated how the family didn't receive any assistance from the law and order agencies of the state. Had there been rule of law, a 14-year-old child wouldn't have faced such torture. A young girl's life was snuffed out. We have provided a break-up of why the state legal services authority or the district legal services authority should pay the family Rs 1,00,00,000 for the trauma they have endured. The matter was mentioned in the court on Thursday with a prayer for urgent hearing," Edulji said.
The high court had directed the CBI to take up the matter on April 12. Since then, the investigating agency has made several arrests. Among those arrested is a Trinamool Congress leader who is the father of the prime accused. His henchmen and the friends of his son, allegedly involved in the crime, have also been arrested. This reveals that the CBI has evidence of intimidation of the family of the victim to cover up the matter.
The minor girl was allegedly gang-raped on April 4. Due to excessive bleeding, her family members tried to take her to a hospital, but the father of the prime accused, who is now in CBI custody, allegedly used strong arm tactics to prevent this.
The girl was taken to a local quack but she died. The father of the prime accused allegedly threatened the family against lodging a police complaint and arranged for the girl's body to be cremated at an unauthorised crematorium without an autopsy or death certificate. The matter came to light only after the family members, with the help of some NGOs, lodged an FIR on April 10.
To make matters worse, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee claimed that there was no rape. According to her, the victim and the prime accused were in a relationship and the death was caused due to attempted termination of pregnancy.
However, she wasn't clear on why no autopsy was carried out or a death certificate was issued before the cremation. Rather, she questioned why the FIR was lodged so many days after the incident. The Chief Minister didn't even consider that any physical interaction with a minor by an adult is illegal and amounts to rape under the law. The minor's consent, even if she gives it, doesn't count.
After the CBI took up the probe, Anindya Sundar Das moved another application before the high court, seeking protection for the family of the victim and witnesses. The high court granted permission to the family members and witnesses to approach the concerned authorities in this regard.