Three convicts in the 2013 Kamduni gang-rape and brutal murder of 20-year-old college student Shipra Ghosh were on Saturday sentenced to death by a Kolkata city court, while three others got life imprisonment.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanchita Sarkar handed out a death sentence to ruling TMC party workers Ansar Ali, Saiful Ali and Aminul Ali, while Emanul Islam, Aminur Islam and Bhola Naskar were sentenced to life imprisonment for the gang-rape and murder of Shipra Ghosh on June 7, 2013.
Prosecution counsel Dipak Ghosh said the circumstances in which the victim died and the nature of injuries to her private parts that led to tearing up of her legs till her navel be considered while handing out the sentence. Saiful Ali, Ansar Ali and Aminul Ali were found guilty under sections 376(d) (gang-rape), 302 (murder), 376A (inflicting injury which causes death of a woman) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The judge found the other three guilty under sections 376(d) (gang-rape), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of IPC.
Prosecution counsel Dipak Ghosh stated that the convicts had shown no repentance for the crime, while pleading for the death penalty. ”Annihilation is what they deserve,” Ghosh submitted.
Two accused — Rafiqul Islam and Nur Ali — were acquitted on Thursday owing to ‘lack of evidence’ against them. Another accused Gopal Naskar died during trial in August last year. The victim’s family has expressed shock at the acquittals of Rafiqul Islam and Nur Ali and life term for 3. Shipra’s disconsolate mother said, “Put all 8 in front of a tiger to tear them off; just like they did with my girl. She wanted to be a teacher”. State CID and the prosecution is reported to be considering challenging the acquittals in this case.
Incidentally, Ansar Ali had pounced on Shipra’s brother yesterday in full view of the court and threatened him by saying “Tokey dekhe nebo” (I will see you). Activists of Hindu Samhati, an NGO that monitors & campaigns for human rights of persecuted Hindus in West Bengal, and which had launched an agitation to ensure prosecution of the culprits in this case, maintained that there is a risk to Shipra’s family and that the battle is likely to continue in higher courts given the political connections the convicts enjoy.
Here are some facts about this brutal rape & murder –
- Shipra Ghosh was returning home at Kamduni, about 50km from Kolkata, in North 24-Parganas district after appearing for an examination at her college on June 7, 2013. The second year Bachelor of Arts student was pulled into a farm when she was walking back home along a deserted road after alighting from a bus.
- It was, as the autopsy report revealed, a brutal crime: the rapists had stuffed her sanitary pad to stop her from screaming, ripped her up to the navel, broken her femur in several places and slit her throat. Later they dumped her body into a nearby field.
- Residents of the area where the victim lived held police inaction responsible for thriving hooch dens and frequent attacks on women. They said that the rule of law does not exist in the Kharibari area, where the girl’s village is located. A hooch den even operates just beside theBarasat II Block Trinamool Congress party office at Kamduni bus stop.
- “The gang of nine rogues had been drinking hooch at a project site where prime suspect Ansar worked as a caretaker,” said a CID officer, quoting the convicts. “They kept an eye on the road through a window, waiting for a girl walking alone on the road that connects the Rajarhat-Taki Road with the local BDO office.”
- The gang spotted a woman returning home on a bicycle being pedalled by her husband. They let her go. “After a few minutes, they saw three woman walking down the road. They thought it would be risky to accost them,” said the officer. “It was drizzling and there was hardly anyone on the road. They waited for another 10 minutes and spotted Shipra coming alone. The gang took position behind the iron gate fitted to an 8ft-high wall of the project site.”
- The girl was dragged inside as soon as he came in front of the gate. “She was taken inside the room and the youths pressed their hands hard against her mouth so that she could not scream,” said another police officer. The incident had sparked widespread outrage in the state amidst serious concerns over women’s safety.
- When CM Mamta Banerjee visited the victim’s family 10 days after the murder, she ended up screaming at the protesting village women – “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”, “You are Maoists and CPM!”, and “Chorer maayer bodo gola! (The thief’s mother shouts the loudest).” She then swung into her car, slammed the door and huffed off.
- The key convict, Ansar Ali, a terror for Kamduni’s inhabitants, is a known Trinamool – and former CPM – enforcer and nephew of the Trinamool-controlled Kirtipur-II gram panchayat head Sayeeda Bibi. He was arrested in 2011 for rioting in the adjacent Parkharibari village. All 9 perpetrators in the case have been documented Trinamool workers since 2011.
Kamduni is a Trinamool stronghold: It is part of the Kirtipur-II gram panchayat, where 11 of the 12 seats have gone uncontested to the Trinamool. A flustered Mamata Banerjee at one point also said “People crossing over from Bangladesh are committing these crimes. I have to speak to the Border Security Force (BSF). This cannot go on.”
The National Crime Record Bureau’s report (2012) shows that in 2011-12, at 30,942 cases of crimes against women, West Bengal, with 7.5 percent of the national population, accounted for 12.67 percent of such cases in Bharat. The number of rape cases was 2,317. The rate of increase over the previous year was 31.9 percent. Gruesome crimes against women continue unabated in West Bengal, as was seen in the recent rape and murder of 15 year old Twinkle Shaw in Jamuria, Asansol.