Pregnant relative of BJP candidate raped in West Bengal allegedly by TMC goons

The relative of a BJP candidate contesting in the Panchayat Elections in West Bengal has been allegedly raped by Trinamool Congress activists in Nadia district early on Sunday. Bappa Sheikh, one of the five people named in the police complaint by the victim’s mother-in-law, has been arrested. The victim was six months pregnant at the time.

The police complaint alleged that the BJP candidate was being threatened by TMC ever since she filed her nomination. It said, “On the night of April 29, a group of men barged into our residence, ransacked it and trashed our handlooms. Another daughter-in-law who is six months’ pregnant was home at the time. The miscreants kicked her in the stomach before raping her.”

“On Sunday, a group of 30 persons had come to our place. While 7-8 broke open my house, the others waited outside. They looted valuables from my house, ransacked my residence and broke three handlooms which we used to make sarees. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and her three and a half-year-old son were staying in the adjoining house. They broke open their house, held the child at gunpoint and beat up the two ladies. My sister-in-law is pregnant. She was beaten and raped,” said the BJP candidate. The victim’s mother-in-law and the candidate’s mother said, “They took me to the verandah and beat me up. They vandalised the house, looted all the belongings and tortured my daughter-in-law.”

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Union Minister Babul Supriyo blamed the ruling party in the state for the incident. He said, “It was a barbaric incident. Ruling party supporters assaulted and raped a woman closely related to one of our candidates. She has been admitted to the NRS Hospital in a critical state. I have brought the matter to the governor’s notice.”

However, the TMC has denied the involvement of its party cadres in the matter. Gourishankar Dutta, District President of the party, alleged that the BJP was cooking up these allegations to malign the party ahead of the Panchayat Elections. Local Trinamool MLA Arindam Bhattacharya remarked that it was a family matter. He said,  “As far as I know, this is a case of a family feud and has nothing to do with TMC.”

The Panchayat Elections in Bengal has been mired in violence this year. There have been regular allegations of attacks on the opposition to prevent them from filing their nomination papers. Eventually, the Calcutta High Court had suspended all poll processes as a consequence of large-scale violence in the state. Ultimately, some candidates were forced to submit their nomination through WhatsApp alleging that it was their only option in light of the attacks perpetuated by TMC goons and the Calcutta High Court directed the State Election Commission to accept the same failing which poll processes would be suspended again. Amidst all the chaos, the TMC is set to win about 20,000 seats uncontested.

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