Kolkata, April 11
The controversy over the rape of a minor girl, who died later, at Hanskhali in Nadia district of West Bengal last week took a more debatable turn on Monday afternoon after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave a love-angle twist to the incident.
Speaking at the inauguration of the revamped Milan Mela, a permanent fair ground opposite the Science City at the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in Kolkata on Monday afternoon, the chief minister referred to the minor's rape in connection with which Brajagopal Goyal, son of a local panchayet member, Samar Goyal, was arrested by the police on Sunday.
"What has happened is not right. I condemn it. The police have arrested the accused. But the opposition parties and a section of the media are trying to give a political twist to the entire event. I have received the news that there was a love affair between the accused and the victim. So why come to a conclusion before the investigation is completed," the chief minister said.
However, legal experts have ruled out the logic of a love affair and consensual sex in this case since the victim was a minor. Senior criminal lawyer of the Calcutta High Court, Kaushik Gupta, told IANS that under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, even consensual sex is considered rape if it involves a minor girl. "A girl below the age of 18 is minor and law does not identify the right of a minor to give consent for sex. Consensual sex with a minor, as per the law is considered as aggravative penetration for sexual assault," Gupta said.
Meanwhile, Banerjee also launched a scathing attack on the media and said that a large section of the media is trying to project the state in a totally negative light. "Even minor events are highlighted nationally by a section of the media holding the ruling party responsible. The same media houses are remaining silent when journalists are stripped in Madhya Pradesh," she said.
A public interest litigation was filed in the Calcutta High Court on Monday, demanding a CBI probe into the matter. It is likely to be heard on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the parents of the victim filed a complaint at the Hanskhali police station against the accused. The victim's parents alleged that the accused invited the victim to his residence on April 4 to celebrate his birthday. There, as per allegations, the girl was fooled into consuming alcohol and then raped. Later, the victim was dropped at her residence by a woman alleged to be a close associate of the accused.
On the night of April 4, the girl started having severe pain in the lower abdomen and died late at night. The victim's family took the assistance of the Child Line and was able to file the FIR at the Hanskhali police station on Saturday. On Sunday, the accused was arrested.