A 15-year-old Hindu Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered at Raghabpur village in North 24 Parganas district, about 68 kilometres northeast of Kolkata, on the night of 29 October.
The girl suddenly went missing from her house just before dinner at around 9.30 pm that Sunday night. Her body was discovered hanging from a tree with her feet barely four inches above the ground a few hours later.
Though police have arrested the prime accused, one Sheikh Illiyas Mondal, and two of his accomplices, the rape-murder has triggered tension and anger in the area.
That’s because this is the latest in a series of such murders of Hindu girls by Muslims in the district which borders Bangladesh.
Raghabpur village under the Machlandapur community development block of the district is just about ten kilometres from the India-Bangladesh border.
The district has witnessed largescale illegal immigration of Bangladeshi Muslims for many decades. Muslims now constitute an estimated 29 per cent of the district’s population and are concentrated in many pockets of the district.
The horrific incident came to light due to the efforts of SinghaBahini president Devdutta Maji (read about him ) who, on hearing about the perfidy, visited the village.
“The police tried to cover up the incident and tried to prevent me from going to the village. The police destroyed evidence that would have proved that the minor girl was raped and murdered before being hanged. Police initially tried to pass off the death as suicide,” Maji told Swarajya.
“The girl’s feet were nearly touching the ground and there were marks on the ground indicating that her body had been dragged. But the police failed to carry out a proper forensic examination of the spot and hurriedly sent the body for postmortem examination. After the postmortem examination, the police forced the victim’s family to cremate her body,” alleged Maji.
Maji said that the uncle of the victim was forced to sign on a few blank pieces of paper. Realising that the police, under political pressure, would try to dilute the case and even give it a different twist, Maji started a campaign seeking justice for the victim and strong punishment of the accused.
Maji said that according to the family and neighbours, the prime accused--Sheikh Illyas Mondal--had been disturbing the victim for the past few months. Mondal lives in the same village and his house is about ten minutes’ walking distance from that of the victim.
The family and neighbours of the victim suspect that Mondal lured the girl away on some pretext and, along with his accomplices, raped her before murdering her.
“He could not have committed the heinous crime alone and definitely got help from others. While the family was searching for their girl that Sunday night, a couple of Muslim boys reportedly came and told them that she may have eloped with Illyas. That means some people in the hamlet where Illyas lives knew of the crime,” said Maji.
After Maji created a buzz over the heinous crime, the vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), Arun Halder, visited the victim’s family last weekend. Halder assured the family of all help in prosecuting the accused and gave a financial assistance of Rs four lakh to the family.
Maji, on behalf of SinghaBahini, also gave financial assistance to the family. “I told the people there that the assistance is not meant to be spent on buying a TV and refrigerator by the victim’s family. It should be raising a group of volunteers who will spread awareness about such crimes and build a movement against ‘love jihad’. Lots of innocent Hindu girls are being lured away, raped and murdered by Muslims,” said Maji.
The alleged rape-murder of the Dalit girl has created considerable unrest in the area. Locals are demanding that the culprits be hanged.
“Such incidents are taking place with increasing regularity in many parts of Bengal, especially North and South 24 Parganas. And such incidents are happening because of shameless appeasement of Muslims by the Trinamool government. Many incidents have taken place, but barely any have been reported since police have, through threats and intimidation of victims’ families, covered up those incidents. Even when accused have been arrested, flimsy charges have been slapped against them to enable them to get bail. These heinous crimes targeting Hindu girls are never investigated seriously and even in the rare instance of cases going to court, weak chargesheets result in acquittal of the accused. All this has emboldened Muslim men and boys to target Hindu girls,” said Maji. (Read Maji’s posts on X , and )
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