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2 women from Sandeshkhali withdraw complaints of rape: With 700 complaints and threats reported in 2021, here are 5 unanswered questions in the case

A woman and her mother-in-law have withdrawn complaints of rape against TMC leaders. They claimed they were forced to sign on blank papers on behest of National Commission for Women.

In a recent development, two women in the politically charged region of Sandeshkhali withdrew their complaints of rape against the members of Trinamool Congress (TMC) on 9th May. The development has stirred up a political controversy with TMC targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and social unrest in the state of West Bengal.

A woman and her mother-in-law have withdrawn complaints of rape against TMC leaders. They claimed they were forced to sign blank papers at the behest of National Commission for Women. As two out of three complaints have been withdrawn, it has left unanswered questions in the Sandeshkhali case.

Five unanswered questions in the Sandeshkhali Case

The pressure factor

The first question arises in the matter is, if there was pressure on the victims to retract their statements. If there was pressure, was it political, social or personal? There is an atmosphere of fear and coercion in Sandeshkhali. According to a 2021 report from The Print, women have been gang-raped in the TMC office and police asked one of the victims to compromise. It has been three years since the complaint was made and the question of undue pressure on the victims persists. The intimidation faced by the Hindu victims in West Bengal is unprecedented.

Safety and Security

How safe are the victims in Sandeshkhali? How safe do they feel after coming forward with their complaints especially when the environment in the region is politically charged? The repeated threats and acts of violence were reported by OpIndia in 2021 which highlighted the dangerous conditions under which the victims and their families live in the region.

Role of law enforcement agencies

Is there any evident pattern of influence or intimidation affecting how law enforcement agencies handle these cases? There have been reports of the inaction of West Bengal police and allegations against them of collusion with the ruling party TMC. The criticism of such collusion has been in the media for years but as complaints have been withdrawn, the question arises if the police are under pressure from the ruling party or if could they be working for them. NHRC’s findings pointed towards the compromised state machinery which cannot be ignored in this case. It was noted that the law enforcement agencies of the state were reluctant to safeguard the victim’s rights and ensure justice.

Political dynamics

There have been accusations against the ruling party TMC leaders and now the accusations have been retracted. What does it reveal about the political dynamics of the region at play? Can justice be served without being partial in the matter in such a politically charged atmosphere? The involvement of the political parties in these sensitive cases suggests that their manipulation by the influential individuals might be the reason behind retracting the complaints and it will potentially harm the criminal investigation.

The Unresolved Cases

There are over 700 complaints of violence and intimidation reported in just six days in June 2021. The question arises as to why these cases remained unresolved. The overwhelming numbers of complaints show that there has been a systematic failure of the state agencies as they failed to address and resolve the allegations.

These questions demand answers. Furthermore, there should be a call to reassess the mechanisms of justice in the state of West Bengal. As the complaints have been withdrawn, it has made it even more difficult to resolve the broader issue of violence, intimidation and political interference in such cases.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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