Two individuals were arrested by the police under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, among others, seven days after three tribal women were forced to crawl and perform “Dandavat Parikrama” in Balurghat, West Bengal.
The three tribal women in a 27-second video crawling towards the Trinamool Congress (TMC) office in West Bengal's Balurghat town were not members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as claimed in the video.
Rather, they were asked to perform the "Dandavat Parikrama" by the local TMC leadership as a "show of strength," The Indian Express reported.
An aide of Paradipta Chakraborty, former district Mahila Trinamool Congress, named Biswanath Das, was arrested the day after the incident, along with Ananda Roy, who serves as both the general secretary of Balurghat Town Trinamool Youth Congress and a contract employee with Balurghat Municipality.
“Two persons were arrested in this case (and) booked under IPC Sections 505 (incitement), 509 (insulting the modesty of women) and SC, ST Atrocities Act. They were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody.
"They will be produced in court again on 17 April,” said Sajal Ghosh, public prosecutor at Balurghat district court.
Additionally, Section 3(1)(r) of SC and ST Atrocities Act is invoked to address intentional insults or intimidation meant to humiliate members of Schedule Castes or Schedule Tribes in public view.
"Women from the ST community joined the BJP & as a punishment, for the ‘crime’, the TMC made them perform the ‘Dandavat Parikrama’.
This inhuman treatment of the Tribals is proof of how TMC has tarnished the fabric of Democracy," tweeted BJP Bengal.
According to The Indian Express report, the local TMC leadership instructed the women to perform the "Dandavat Parikrama" as a response to their decision to join the BJP.
Rajen, Shiuli's husband and a TMC member since 2013, acknowledged that there was pressure from “higher-ups” within the party to counter the BJP's actions, but he did not provide further details on who these “higher-up” individuals were.
“One of those arrested is in a party post. He will be removed soon. The police will take action against the guilty and will have to see that innocent people are not harassed in the case,” said Mrinal Sarkar, district TMC chief.
“To shield the main culprit, police have arrested the small fry. Why is the main culprit not arrested by police? We will continue our agitation until the main culprit is arrested,” Swarup Chowdhury, BJP district president said.
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