Left parties and Kolkata Police were on Wednesday involved in a tussle over the cremation of the body of a 16-year-old gangrape victim, who died in a city hospital after attempting suicide.
The girl, who had been brutalised twice on October 25, had died at government-run city hospital yesterday from burns sustained when she tried to immolate herself on December 23.
The girl’s father, who is a taxi driver and close to CITU, today said it was decided by the family and the trade union that the body would be kept at Peace Haven mortuary in the city and a condolence rally with the body will be taken out during the day.
But the body was taken away forcefully by the police for cremation when it was being taken to the mortuary late last night without the family's consent, the girl's father and CITU sources said.
"The police took away the body forcefully and tried to cremate it at Nimatala crematorium but could not as the death certificate was with the girl’s father. After the news spread we too rushed to the crematorium and protested forcing the police to retreat," CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb told PTI. "The police gave the excuse that the condolence rally with the body cannot be allowed as there is dearth of policemen due to New Year celebrations," he said.
However, police have denied the allegations.
"It is a totally false allegation. Whatever was done was done in consultation with Bidhahnagar Police, under whose jurisdiction the girl's house falls, and the family members. We did not forcefully take away any body," Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Rajeev Mishra told PTI.
When contacted, Deputy Comissioner of Bidhannagar Police (Detective Department) Arnab Ghosh said, "The incident happened in the jurisdiction of Kolkata police so we can’t comment on it."
The body is presently in the custody of the family and the CITU, which has decided to go ahead with the condolence rally in the city in the afternoon.
The girl's family has also alleged negligence by R G Kar Medical College Hospital, where she had been admitted.
Doctors at the hospital said the girl was admitted with nearly 80 per cent burns and damaged lungs. She died at around 2 PM yesterday.
The girl had been gangraped twice in a day on October 25 at Madhyamgram, in the northern fringes of the city. She was first gangraped near her house and found lying in a field near her house. She was forcibly taken away by the same gang and raped and brutalised when she was returning home with her parents after lodging a complaint at the local police station.
The severely injured girl was later found lying unconscious near the railway track at Madhyamgram the same day.
Her family had changed residence from Madhyamgram to Dum Dum in the city after the brutal incident.
Six people were arrested after local residents demanded immediate action against the gang, but the victim's family members alleged that on December 23, a close associate of the gang leader Chottu had visited their Dum Dum residence and threatened them with dire consequences if the girl did not withdraw her complaint.
She tried to immolate herself on the same day. Shyamal Chakrabarty, CITU president and CPI-M central committee member said, "Are we living in a democracy ? A girl is gangraped, she dies and the police forcefully tries to take away the body to cremate it rather than arresting the culprits."