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TMC Rajya Sabha member attempts to understate post-poll violence in West Bengal, falsely claims CBI found no evidence in 21 rape cases

The TMC RS member leaned on the Times of India report to claim that CBI found no evidence of rape, molestation in 21 rape cases, conveniently missing out mentioning how the cases have been sent back to the state SIT team for the want of evidence.

Trinamool Congress(TMC) Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Sekhar Ray today tried to make light of the horrifying atrocities and violence meted out on victims of post-poll violence in West Bengal. In a tweet, Ray stated that CBI did not find any evidence of sexual harassment and rape in 21 cases as alleged by the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) and accused the statutory body of serving the interests of the BJP.

“CBI has not found evidence in 21 cases of sexual harassment and rape in post-poll violence alleged by the National Human Rights Commission in a report filed before Calcutta High Court. Hence, NHRC must be dissolved for serving the political interest of the BJP. CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG,” Ray tweeted.

The TMC RS member seems to have leaned on the headlines of a Times of India report to claim that CBI found no evidence of rape, molestation in 21 rape cases. However, he conveniently ignores to mention that the premier probe agency has sent the cases back to the Bengal state’s SIT team for the want of evidence. The cases, to Ray and Mamata’s chagrin, haven’t been disposed of as the TMC RS member wants to project in his tweet. They have, instead, been transferred back to the state SIT team for gathering enough evidence. Also, it is not under CBI’s purview to collect evidence in the cases of post-poll violence. It is the responsibility of the state SIT team, a fact which the TMC RS member expediently fails to highlight.

Ray also ignores the fact that CBI found evidence in 38 cases and has charge-sheeted 10 cases already. As far as the 21 rape cases are concerned, the premier probe agency sent the cases back to SIT for further proof.

Times of India downplays post-poll violence in West Bengal

Earlier yesterday, the Times of India carried a hitjob, wherein it tried to downplay the brutality faced by the victims of post-poll violence in West Bengal. The headline of a report on Times of India disingenuously said that there was no proof in 21 rape, rape-attempt cases mentioned by the NHRC, implying that the allegations of post-poll violence in West Bengal were far-fetched and bogus.

A cursory read, however, revealed the truth. The Free Press Journal published a report on January 3 that was titled: “West Bengal post-poll violence: CBI sends back 21 cases of molestation and rape to state formed SIT after failing to gather enough evidence.” Essentially, the CBI moved 21 cases of rape or attempted rape that occurred during the West Bengal post-poll violence to a state-formed SIT to acquire additional evidence because it was unable to locate enough in these cases.

However, by tweaking the headline, the media outlets like the Times of India attempted to infer that the CBI was unable to find any evidence in the charges of rape during the post-election violence in West Bengal. The insinuation of such a headline for the reader is clear – no such crime had occurred.

Interestingly, the Times of India does not specifically explain that the West Bengal Police SIT’s failure in gathering adequate evidence might have been rooted in its alleged reluctance in registering FIRs in cases of post-poll violence. This could as well be an indictment of the West Bengal police and not of the merit of the rape cases being probed. Instead, the report by TOI insinuated that the rape and molestation charges be might be trumped up as CBI failed in gathering evidence in the cases.

Post Poll violence in West Bengal

Contrary to what Ray would have his followers believe, West Bengal witnessed an unprecedented wave of violence unleashed against BJP workers and supporters, who were allegedly brutally murdered, prosecuted and raped by leaders and workers of Mamata Banerjee led ruling Trinamool Congress.

Post-poll violence had become a leitmotif of news emerging out of Bengal following the declaration of results in May 2021. Umpteen number of violence against political opponents were reported from the state. More than a dozen BJP workers have lost their lives in the post-poll violence that ensued following the victory of the TMC party in the assembly elections.

Notably, on August 19, the five-member bench of the Calcutta High Court passed the order to form the SIT, as well as the CBI investigation after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), submitted its report on human rights violation in West Bengal. The NHRC has made quite a few damning revelations in the report that detailed the barbarity unleashed upon the political opponents in West Bengal.

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