West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that the country needed speedy trial of rape cases and all these should be disposed of at the earliest in fast track courts instead of taking law into one’s own hands. She was speaking in Kolkata’s Mayo Road on a day that woke up to the shocking news of four men accused in the gangrape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinarian killed in an encounter with the Hyderabad Police.
Banerjee did not directly criticise the encounter – but her comments were significant especially considering the barrage of congratulatory messages and celebrations throughout the country in support of the encounter killing of the accused.
Banerjee questioned why there was no security for the woman from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, who was attacked and set ablaze by five men as she had lodged an FIR against her rapists. She is under treatment and in critical condition with 90 per cent burn injury.
Banerjee said that there were over 80 fast track courts in Bengal and 45 of these are handling cases of women. “We don’t allow such things to happen in West Bengal,” she said adding, “If such incidents happen, quick action has to be taken, and the police authorities concerned must take immediate action, and go for speedy trial.” She said that if there was lack of initiative and work on part of the police, then action would be taken against these officers.
Regarding a case in West Bengal’s Malda where a woman’s charred body was found, Banerjee said that she had sought a report and was waiting to confirm if the woman had been sexually abused. “It is true that she was found burnt, but we are waiting for the post mortem report to confirm if she was subject to violence before her death,” she said.