Kolkata, Aug 29 (SocialNews.XYZ) No crime, however heinous, grabs as much public attention as an alleged atrocity against a woman. More so, if the alleged perpetrators are men in uniform. The Trinamool Congress is aware of this and jumped to the occasion when a woman from Basirhat in the district of North 24-Parganas (about 70 km from Kolkata) alleged that she was gang-raped by two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel while attempting to sneak across the India-Bangladesh border at Bagdah.
The place of occurrence is also in North 24-Parganas and nearly 100 km to the northeast of Kolkata.
The incident allegedly occurred on Thursday night and since then, the two BSF personnel have been arrested and the woman sent for medical examination. Senior BSF officials have also said that it has initiated a probe and no attempt will be made to protect the accused. All assistance is being provided to the police in their investigation, it has been officially stated by the Force.
The Trinamool Congress, though, decided to turn this into an opportunity to hit back at the Centre at a time when agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing charges of graft against its leaders and their close associates.
On Sunday, a high-profile team of the party, including MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, ministers Sashi Panja and Partha Bhowmick as well as spokesperson Kunal Ghosh visited the village where the purported crime occurred. After carrying out what the team called their own inquiry into incidents of excesses by the BSF, the leaders launched a scathing attack against the Centre.
There are several reasons behind this. The Panchayat elections in West Bengal are barely a few months away. The Trinamool Congress lost the Bagdah Assembly Constituency to the BJP in 2021 and wants to regain control. Conflict between the BSF and the border population in this area, known for smuggling and infiltration, is common. The Trinamool Congress knows that any statement made against the BSF in the border villages will be lapped up by locals. The Trinamool Congress has also been bitterly opposing the decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to extend the BSF's jurisdiction to 50 km inland from the border. Last but not the least, raising a hue and cry over this issue will help in diverting attention from Anubrata Mondal and Partha Chatterjee.
"The ruling party in this state has always been against us. One of the reasons could be that our personnel have thwarted attempts by party workers and local leaders to commit cross-border crime. Even in the Anubrata Mondal case, the Trinamool Congress has repeatedly questioned why the BSF shouldn't be held responsible though it is a fact that one of our former officers is in prison for his involvement in the cattle smuggling case.
"We have never been against any probe against our officers or men. Even in this case of alleged gangrape, it was the BSF's women's cell that tracked down the woman and helped her in lodging a police complaint. We are a disciplined force and have a no-tolerance policy against any criminal activity by our personnel. Had there been any conspiracy on our part, we could have simply allowed the woman to cross over into Bangladesh and the matter would have got hushed-up. After all, she was not keen to lodge a complaint but only wanted to get into Bangladesh," a senior BSF official said.