Agartala: Following two more incidents of rape on minors in the last 48 hours at Agartala city and Kailashahar in Tripura’s Unakoti district, the situation turned volatile after the Opposition parties on Friday protested against the ruling BJP over the rising incidents of crime against women as well as the deteriorating law and order situation.

This comes at a time when protests seeking justice for gang rape victims of Kumarghat and Kalyanapur were at fever pitch. The police has drawn flak from the public for its inability to calm the protestors with their tardy investigation.

In the rape cases reported from Agartala city and Kailashahar, the victims are minor girls and the accused persons were arrested and subsequently forwarded before the court, said police.

The first incident that took place at Kailashahar, an adjoining sub-division of Kumarghat, is boiling in protests after accused Ahid Ali allegedly kidnapped a minor girl and raped her in an abandoned place.

Jahangir Hossain, OC of Iarani police station, said, “The incident took place on October 25, but we received the FIR on October 26. The accused had been arrested within 24 hours of the complaint. He is now under police remand.”

The second incident was reported from Agartala under the jurisdiction of East Agartala Women police station. OC Paramita Saha said, “The accused person is a neighbour of the victim. Taking advantage of the 11-year-old victim being alone, the accused Bishnu Pada Das forced himself upon the child. The accused was arrested As soon as we received the complaint on Thursday night.”

In both cases, the police took swift action, even as the pace of the police investigation has been called into question by opposition parties in the rest of the two cases that were reported from Kumarghat in Unakoti and Kalyanpur in Khowai last week.

Sources from Kalyanpur informed EastMojo that in the gang rape of the minor girl hailing from an indigenous community, a BJP Deputy Chief (Upa Pradhan) of Panchayat is directly involved. The police registered an FIR against three persons. The name of the fourth accused, Binod Bihari Datta – a BJP elected member and second in command of the local Panchayat – was missing from the FIR.

Supporters of TIPRA Motha condemned the role of police and held protest demonstrations in front of the police station. Under pressure, the police finally included Datta’s name, an influential leader of the Kalyanpur area.

“So far, two persons have been arrested while Datta and another accomplice in the crime are still at large,” a police source said.

Meanwhile, the incident has also stirred protests across the sub-division. Road blockades were staged in several parts of the Kalyanpur sub-division, which prompted the police to convene a peace meeting. Delegations from CPI-M and other political parties also met the OC of Kalyanpur police station with demands for justice.  

A meeting was organised in the presence of Additional SP of Khowai district Rajdeep Deb and SDPO Prasun Kanti Tripura on Friday.  

“The prime motive of the peace meeting was to restore peace and tranquility in the area. The Police have been doing their job and hopefully, the rest of the two accused persons will soon be arrested. Our teams are conducting search operations all over the district,” said Deb.

The police have also confirmed that the BJP leader had been named in the FIR registered under several IPC and POCSO sections.

Meanwhile, in connection with the Kumarghat case where allegations had been raised against minister Bhagaban Chandra Das’s son for his direct involvement in the gang rape, six persons, including a close aide of the minister’s son, have been arrested. Despite protests and demonstrations, the police have not made any efforts to even summon the minister’s son for questioning.

Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman

On Friday, Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman broke his silence and alleged that the Kumarghat incident had once again proved before the people of the state that the person sitting at the helm of affairs was deaf, dumb, and blind.

“The police can easily prove the involvement of the minister’s son. The place of the crime belonged to the minister’s son. He rented the building. The locals spotted him on the day of the incident. A record of his mobile phone location can easily tell where he was when the incident took place; as simple as that. But, a section of cops is playing the fifth for the ruling party leaders. The police investigation is being influenced by the ruling class. The CCTV footage is being recreated with the intention to save the minister’s son. Is he beyond the law?” asked Barman.

The Congress MLA also spoke on the Kalyanpur incident. “Again, the leaders of the ruling party are accused in the case. One of them is an Upa Pradhan and the other is the husband of an elected member. This is the law and order situation of the state. If you take the data, every month 13 incidents of rape had been reported in the last few years. Where is our Chief Minister? He pretends to be a gentleman but his work does not reflect the same. We from the Congress party demand that the minister should be immediately sacked and all the culprits involved in these cases should be brought to book.”

According to Barman, the present situation of Tripura is even worse than jungle raaj.

Leader of the Opposition Manik Sarkar also expressed grave concerns over the recent incidents and said that it was painful to witness that people had to mount pressure on the police to register an FIR.

“I am not blaming the whole police fraternity but a section of officers are reluctant to take FIRs from the complainants. Instead, they suggest the victim for an out-of-court settlement. They are working as the second fiddle to the ruling party to protect the culprits. The bodies like the women commission and child rights commission are also inactive,” Sarkar lamented.

Leader of the Opposition and enior CPI-M leader Manik Sarkar

The senior CPI-M leader also lashed out at the ruling party for gradually spoiling the future of the state’s youth. “They had given the call for drug-free Tripura, have you seen anything? I don’t think that these things are not interlinked. To ensure that their political motives are fulfilled, our youths are being pushed into the vicious cycle of drugs. A section of them under the influence of these intoxicants are indulging in such crimes. We have to protect our society from this degeneration. The government is trying to shy away from its responsibility. It is not the act of a responsible and accountable government. This is why the BJP is getting isolated from the public day by day,” Sarkar pointed out.

TIPRA Chairman Pradyot Kishore Debbarman, who had visited the house of the victim girl, met the police officials at Kalyanpur on Friday and maintained that in such cases political interference from any political party was unacceptable.

“I have nothing to do with the culprit’s political affiliation. A rapist is a rapist and he should be arrested right away; otherwise, a few days later, another innocent girl will be his victim. I think no party should interfere in such critical issues and help the police find out the accused culprits,” he told reporters in front of the Kalyanpur police station.

The All India Trinamool Congress also held a protest march in Agartala city on Friday. TMC MP Susmita Dev condemned the rising cases of crime against women and demanded strict action against the perpetrators.     

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