Mamata Banerjee to lead protest march against Hathras rape on Saturday
Kolkata, Oct 02: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will lead a protest march in the city on Saturday to protest against the alleged gang rape and death of the 19-year-old woman at Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, TMC sources said.
TMC sources said the decision was taken after a delegation of the party was stopped from meeting the family members of the rape victim. This will be the first time in six months since the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown in March that the TMC supremo will hit the streets.
The rally will start at 4 pm on Saturday and the participants will walk from Birla Planetarium to Mahatma Gandhi's statue in central Kolkata, they said. Banerjee had on Thursday likened the cremation of the woman at night to the 'Agni Pariksha' of Goddess Sita in the Ramayana.
The Trinamool Congress on Friday alleged that its woman MP Pratima Mandal was manhandled and pushed by a senior district official when she was on her way to Hathras to meet the family of the alleged rape victim.
The party also shared several video clips showing its leader in Rajya Sabha, Derek O'Brien being pushed to the ground by police personnel a few kms away from the victim's house and Mandal being manhandled by the administrative official on the road. The TMC delegation comprised MPs O'Brien, Mandal, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and former parliamentarian Mamata Thakur.
''The BJP is always quick to point fingers at opposition-ruled states. But now everybody has gone silent all of a sudden. The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is busy with stopping the opposition leaders from meeting the victim's family, rather than ensuring justice to them,'' TMC MP Saugata Roy said.
The BJP unit of West Bengal asked the TMC to stop ''politicising the death'' and take a look at its track record when it came to tackling crimes against women.
''The TMC should stop this drama. What is its track record in dealing with crimes against women? How many rallies has TMC held when women are raped in Bengal? The UP government has taken action to deal with the situation,'' BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped by four upper caste men in Hathras on September 14. She was referred to the Safdarjung hospital in Delhi on Monday with spinal cord injuries, paralysis and cuts in her tongue. She died around 3 am on Tuesday. Her subsequent cremation in the dead of night at Hathras, allegedly under police pressure, has led to an outrage across the country over the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.