With 2 forensic units, WB unlikely to settle rape cases fast

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Kolkata, Jan 18: The West Bengal government has decided to set up fast-track court to settle cases related to crime against women but is the government committed enough to back the initiative?

According to a report published in Anandabazar Patrika on Friday, the state women's commission has said that with just two forensic laboratories in the entire state, it is impossible to carry out tests fast and submit the reports, hence delaying justice.

Even the two laboratories, located in Kolkata and Jalpaiguri, do not have adequate staff and poor infrastructure forces outsourcing of DNA and blood tests. Samples of blood, clothes, semen are being amassed at these two centres but lack of progress of the tests have left the fate of several victims uncertain.

The commission has demanded that each district in the state should have at least one laboratory if cases related to rape need to be settled fast. Chairman of the commission Sunanda Mukhopadhyay has decided to write to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to bring to her notice the pathetic state of testing infrastructure.

The commission chairman said the effectiveness of semen samples gets reduced if they are left unchecked for days. She said time gets wasted in bringing samples from distant places to either Kolkata or Jalpaiguri. "We want forensic laboratories in each district. It is better if the tests are carried out in the district hospitals," Mukhopadhyay said.

State health officials rubbished the proposal of setting up laboratories in the forensic department of the medical college. According to them, there is little similarity in the forensic activities of the medical and laboratories. Some others admitted that the state does not have the infrastructure to carry out forensic tests quickly.

The home department has conceded to the fact that poor infrastructure was indeed delaying settlement of cases. According to a highly-placed source in the home department, talks are being held to set up forensic laboratories in Malda and Durgapur but nobody knows when they will be set up.

Authorities at the two current laboratories in the state said the situation would not improve unless manpower is increased. Both centres currently have just one officers who can test samples and give report on cases.

OneIndia News

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