“I don’t feel safe enough to step out of home. I will go out only after all the accused are arrested and the elections are over,” said a young woman who was abused and assaulted by six men, with affiliation to the Trinamool Congress, in a south Kolkata locality on the night of Friday, April 15. Her crime: she was wearing shorts and smoking at 9 pm while out on a walk in Pallisree area of south Kolkata with a companion.


Only one of the accused, Kamal Ganguly, a 70-year-old, a former central government employee, was picked up by the police 72 hours after the woman, a Presidency University undergraduate, lodged her complaint.


Shouvik Ganguly, the son, and four others, are still absconding. All the five accused bear political affiliation to Aroop Biswas, a Trinamool Congress candidate for Tollygunge and West Bengal’s housing minister. All the accused had assembled in Pallisree of south Kolkata to campaign for Biswas, who was also in the same area on Friday night to campaign for the Bengal assembly election.


That’s when they came across the young woman, who was accompanied by a man. Seeing her in shorts and smoking, the six accused immediately started abusing her. When the young man came to her rescue, he was assaulted and when the woman tried to intervene, she was assaulted as well.

This is our locality. Our word is the law here. So, I really will not feel safe until all of them have been arrested. I will only go out of my house after that.

When she went to Netaji Nagar police station to lodge her complaint, police would have none of it. She was asked repeatedly whether she “really wanted to lodge the complaint”. After much questioning, and asking her to draft her complaint three times, they finally agreed to file the FIR. The buzz is that the police were reluctant to file the complaint because of the accused persons’ political affiliation.


Locket Chatterjee, BJP leader and a well-known actress in Tollywood, spoke to newsable.com about the incident. “The Trinamool Congress is now telling women if they should wear a sari, or skirt, or shorts, whether they should smoke or drink cold drinks. What a woman wears is her choice. This has never before happened in West Bengal. This should not be allowed to continue. We must all protest.”


Newsable.com also spoke to the young woman in question while she was waiting in the court of the Alipore district magistrate to record her statement. “I am scared to go out of the house until all of them are arrested. One of the accused is partying in Digha (a tourist spot on the beach in Midnapore district). The police don’t want to deal with sensitive issues such as this one. This worries me. These people who abused and assaulted me were so arrogant and confident. They have even issued threats to the one person who helped us out that night.”

 

“The accused told us: ‘Eta amader para. Ekhane aamra ja bolbo tai hobe’ (This is our locality. Our word is the law here). So, I really will not feel safe until all of them have been arrested. I will only go out of my house after that,” the woman told newsable.com.
 

Kamal Ganguly was in judicial custody on Tuesday for a day. The police were unable to convince the court to grant them police custody of the 70-year-old. His son Shouvik Ganguly’s phone is switched off and he is still absconding.