Two women of this sleepy village, who led the anti-gangrape protests in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee only to be dubbed Maoists and CPI-M activists by the angry leader, Wednesday sought a probe by the CBI to clear their names.
“Never in my life have we carried the flags of any political party. Neither have any member of our family. We only protested against the heinous crime done on a girl we have known from close for years. Let there be a CBI probe to determine whether we are Maoists or CPI-M,” said a sobbing Mousumi Kayal, a housewife from the now famous village in North 24 Parganas district.
Mousumi and Tumpa Kayal had led the protests Monday when Banerjee visited the residence of the second-year college student abducted, gang-raped and killed by a group of youths June 7 when she was returning home after appearing in an examination.
After Tumpa and Mousumi asked Banerjee to talk to them and shouted slogans about the lack of security, the chief minister lost her cool and screamed at them to “shut up”.
She also branded the perpetrators of the crime as well as the protesters as “CPI-M people”. Continuing in the same vein at a public rally in the district Wednesday, Banerjee called the protestors “Maoists”.
“Does that mean whoever raises his or her voice of protest will be branded a Maoist,” wondered Mousumi.
Tumpa, who bore the brunt of Banerjee’s fury two days back, said: “How could she label us like this? The victim was my classmate. I was born in this village. Only some months back I was married off. But I came back to this village on ‘jamai shashthi’ (son-in-law day) to sympathise with my friend’s family.”
Tumpa said she had the support of the villagers and her in-laws in her protest.
“I have dared to raise my voice, as the villagers are with us. If they beat a retreat, I will lose my spirit,” she said.
Mousumi is dazed at Banerjee’s outburst, but still retains her courage to speak out. “If such atrocities are committed against women in future, then too I shall protest.”