WB: Oppn slams govt over compensation to crime victims

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Kolkata, Sept 8: The Opposition took a dig at the West Bengal government once again on Friday, the second time in two days, over the latter's decision to compensate rape victims, a report published in Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika said.

Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra, who slammed the Mamata Banerjee government over its decision on Thursday and questioned the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, said at a meeting in Bardhaman that the government was trying to 'buy' victims of social crime.

"The government is paying a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for murder, Rs 30,000 to a minor rape victim and Rs 10,000 to those party people injured in clashes," the report said quoting Mishra. It was also reported that the senior CPI(M) leader slammed the government for not arresting those accused in the murder of former party MLA Pradip Tah in February. He said with the compensation policy, now anybody could try to 'bribe' Tah's family for not raising the matter any further.

Trinamool Congress's ally in the state government, the Congress also criticised the state government's decision. Party MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said such decision was a surprising one. Saying it was an absolutely bizarre idea to compensate victims of half-rape or full-rape, the Berhampore MP said this would actually encourage criminals. He said assurances to help those fighting social crime like rape or look after the families of rape victims would have made sense, the report said.

The Trinamool, however, did not maintain silence. State transport minister Madan Mitra said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken a humanitarian step by announcing compensation for the rape victims. Reacting to Chowdhury, Mitra said such anti-government statements would only increase the CM's popularity. The minister claimed that women's safety in Bengal had become better after Banerjee took over as the CM last year.

According to the report, another Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor, although welcomed the decision of paying compensation, said it was also important that the police acted with more responsibility to curb social crime. She said if necessary, police personnel could be counselled so that they react to crime like rape more promptly. It is often alleged that the state police fail to deal with crimes like rape with full alacrity.

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