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Crocodile tears for Ranaghat nun


In solidarity with Mother Superior from Ranaghat

On Saturday morning – 14 March, 2015 – I was horrified when I received a WhatsApp message from a friend. My faith in humanity was shaken. A 74 year old nun was allegedly gangraped in Nadia district of my state… How beastly can someone’s mentality be to assault a mother! I was moved to tears when next day I read the nun said she forgave the criminals who did it to her. “Forgive them Father, they do not know what they did” said Lord Jesus on the Cross; only someone belonging to the Church could say this for her assaulters.

The incident obviously invited political repercussions across India. BJP, on the backfoot over rising cases of attacks on minorities – specially Christians, was desperate to counter West Bengal government. Without even an iota of evidence, the State President of the party blamed TMC men for the heinous crime. Mamata Di rose to the gravity of the situation, and like a true statesman ordered a CID probe within hours of the incident. She was in constant touch with the Convent while Derek O’Brien was in touch with nuns in Delhi for any assistance.

But the question here is not scoring political brownie points. I would not even be writing this post had the shameless Opposition of Bengal used students as shield to embarrass the CM during her return from Ranaghat on Monday night (this after the Church prevented BJP delegation from meeting the survivor in hospital). BJP’s Sangh affiliate VHP justified the rape and attack on Christians, used abusive analogy with homosexuality to glorify the criminals.

If you open newspapers these days, they all scream about incidents of assault and attack on women. Has the situation in Bengal worsened in the last three years? Or is the media lying? Neither. It is a case of selective reportage. The same media houses which wore a veil when women were violated before 2011 has suddenly found its voice of outrage. The earlier government hardly allowed any dissent to surface; they were quashed locally in party offices. This is the digital age; we live in a free society now – The present government has nothing to hide.

1) No justice has been delivered on the Marijhanpi case in 1977, when thousands of refugee women were brutally raped, murdered and thrown away on the sea by harmads.

2) Remember Bantala, 1990? When Anita Dewan was raped, torch inserted in her private parts by CPM goons, and the Chief Minister Jyoti Basu said, ‘these things happen’.

3) In 1989, Cooch Behar at Fulbari on one single day, 10 Adivasis were raped by CPM harmads and yet no justice to them.

4) The CPM harmads entered Basanti Sonakhali and raped housewives. (1992)

5) Felani Basak, raped and murdered by CPM goons at Nadia in 1992, and no justice to her.

6) At Uday Narayanpur, Howrah, six housewives were raped by CPM goons in 1996. No justice has been delivered.

7) On the infamous Dhantala incident, males in the bus were tired up and CPM goons raped the females in front of them in 2003. And yes, no justice on this too.

8) Has justice being delivered to the brave martyr of Singur, Tapasi Malik, who was raped and murdered in 2006 at the TATA Nano complex, just because she fought for the right for her land?

9) Women who were inhumanly raped by the CPM harmads at Nandigram in 2007 still await justice.

10) Very recently, a 5 year old baby was raped by BJP workers inside the BJP office at Behala. Did Rahul Sinha, Suryakanta Mishra, Adhir Chowdhury ever speak on this issue?

11) One of the Ministers of BJP’s cabinet, Mr Nihal Chand is a rape accused and according to official police record he is absconding. Yet, he continues to attend Parliament and his Ministerial post.

12) BJP is a party, whose MP sat on stage silently while his follower asked the crow to rape the corpses of Muslim women.

13) BJP is the party whose Shakha Sangathans in Sangh Parivar dictate how many kids women should produce.

14) Have we forgotten Bilkis Bano? Have the horror stories of 2002 escaped our minds? The Prime Minister (the CM of Gujarat)’s ministers Babu Bajrangi & Maya Kodnani are out on bail. Have we forgiven them for their heinous crimes?

With such long history of inaction of CPM and the sick mentality of BJP, does it suit them to shed crocodile tears?


Tapasi Malik – 6 Years of Shame

SFI PresidencyThe memory of that evening is still fresh in my memory. After classes, we were leaving for tuitions and the mid-December chill was getting a grip on us. Presidency College (now an University) was located near the Calcutta Medical College and we had to pass by CMC to reach Central Metro Station. A sudden call on Madhurima’s phone and all hell broke loose. We had become acquainted to the extraordinarily high police presence on College Street by now, thanks to the daily agitations and rallies that happened at College Square. But that evening beat even that of 2 Dec (the day when fencing began at Singur, after CPM cadres burnt houses, paddy fields, tortured women, beat up men on LIVE TV and went scott-free). The evening of 18 December 2006 held a lot of surprises for us.

Madhurima was informed about some girl, aged 17, at Singur who was set on fire for being a member of Bhoomi Uchched Pratirodh Committee. Her body had been brought to CMC and there was a snap meeting called by USDF-AISA (United Students Democratic Forum-All India Students Association, both frontal organisations of Maoists as has been revealed now). Soon, another phone call informed us that the girl in question was named Tapasi Malik and she had been gangraped before being set on fire. My innards received a sudden jolt. Tapasi was just 17. About my age, and my female classmates, she was just fighting for the sake of her land! Madhu had by then almost collapsed. Words were lost in the solemnity of the moment. From Eden Hindu Hostel, we changed track and made way towards Surjo Sen Street – University Institute Hall.

During those days, we used to attend many such meetings. Whatever little support we could give, in our capacity as students, to the landlosers in Singur, we extended with whole heart. I was there when Medha Patkar was stopped, by SFI cadre and Kolkata Police, at the gates of my alma mater, where she had arrived to talk to students for supporting the Singur cause. I was there when Arundhati Ray had arrived at University Institute Hall to speak. I was there when Kabir Suman sang for the memory of Tapasi at College Square months later. But the meet on that evening of 17 December 2006 was different. The speakers were traumatised – still grasping the fact that a little girl could be butchered so mercillesly, just because she had challenged the might of the Party and a famous business tycoon.

Tapasi SingurHorrors awaited us even when we reached home that night to find the perpetrator of the crime being branded by CPM’s visual mouthpiece 24 Ghanta as Tapasi’s grand-dad. Debu Malik was on TV informing 24 Ghanta’s anchor that Tapasi committed suicide because of a failed love affair. Conspiracy theories were planted. Many powerful media houses, which run on the money of business houses, started giving credence to this story. WB CID too showed their allegiance to Alimuddin Street. Back then, the Central Govt was dependent on Left Front for survival and Congress tried to wash their hands off the incident with trademark lip-service about murder of democracy etc.

Thankfully, PIL’s were filed in court, and CBI enquiry ordered which finally sent Debu Malik behind bars (to which CPM reacted by giving him the epithet of Party’s honour being victimised for politics). 2 years later in 2008, Ratan Tata unceremoniously refused to accept the Singur compromise formula devised by then West Bengal’s Governor Dr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, in a tripartite meeting with Mamata and Buddha. He left the state just ahead of Durga Puja and moved the project to Sanand. Had Tata let go of his ego in September 2008, may be Singur would have been a different tale. But now only the ghost of a Car Plant graces the vast lands by the side of Durgapur Expressway. The land where Tapasi Malik was raped and burnt alive. 6 years ago. At the altar of politics, power and greed.

Disclaimer : All Images Used In The Blog Post Have Their Own Copyrights.

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