August 13, 2005
Press Release: Hindu Girl Gang-Raped and Killed by Islamic Militants in West Bengal (BengalVoice)
On August 2, 2005, the parliamentary constituency of Raiganj in the Indian state of West Bengal, which is currently represented by senior Congress leader and Union Minister in the current central Indian government, Priya Ranjan Das Munsi, witnessed a brutal act of a very young teenage Hindu girl savagely gang-raped and killed by four Islamic reactionaries.
Pratima Das, a local Hindu girl and the fourteen year old daughter of a poor Hindu farmer named Nilkanta Das, was from the village of Kasba Mahaso near the Hemtabad police station located in North Dinajpur district. For a while she was being stalked and harassed by four young Islamic zealots from the same village named Hero Mohammed (age 24) son of Rafiqul Mohammed, Martuza Mohammed (age 28) son of Saqul Mohammed, Hussain Ansari (age 22) son of Aso Mohammed, and Mukhtar Ali (age 20) son of Sabul Mohammed. All are suspected to be members of Islamic militant groups that are affiliated to the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism in neighboring Bangladesh.
Nilkanta repeatedly warned Rafiqul Mohammed, the father of Hero Mohammed, that he would go to the police if the harassment persisted. On August 2, when Nilkanta was returning from the fields, he was informed by his nephew and a few others that Pratima had been killed. According to Mrs. Pal, a teacher of the local school and the wife of a Congress leader, Pratima had been found in a nearby jute field nearby in a very ugly state, her genitals savagely bloodied and bidi (cigarette) burns on her face. Apparently, she had been strangulated to death with a piece of green jute stalk. The police were informed and took away the body for a post mortem examination.
The location of this brutal atrocity is in the Northern areas of the Indian state of West Bengal and is very close to the Bangladesh border. For a long time, terrorist Islamic groups such as the outlawed SIMI (Students Islamic Movement for India) and the Jagroto Muslim Janata (an Islamic terrorist group based in neighboring Bangladesh) led by Siddiqul Islam, a.k.a. Bangla Bhai, are active here. International human rights groups have stated that neighboring Bangladesh is becoming a haven for Islamic fundamentalism.
Another despicable aspect of this brutal sexual assault and murder of this young Hindu girl was the blatant attempt on the part of the local police, in connivance with the autopsy examiner, to prove that there was no rape, only a simple case of murder.
The post mortem report has actively tried to point at signs which would indicate that there was no rape by stating that "Hymen intact, deceased's underclothes not in disarray", etc. There is no mention whether the underclothes contain any semen marks or blood. Contrary to what eye-witness Mrs. Pal had stated, there is no mention of cigarette burn marks on the face. When four young men strangle a very young girl to death in some barren field, it is very hard and insulting to believe that she was not also brutally gang raped, particularly after the description of Pratima's body when it was found.
It is also worth mentioning in this tragic and gruesome context that the ruling CPI (M) government has always been extremely anxious to hide cases of gang-rape, especially where the rapists are of the Muslim faith and the victims are Hindu women. Unfortunately, this has happened in the cases of gang rapes that occurred in the wake of the 2003 Panchayat elections that took place in West Bengal. Three particular cases from the past come to mind in light of Pratima's murder: the incident near the Dhantala police station in the district of Nadia; the incident near the Goaltor police station in district of western Medinipur; the incident near Budbud police station in the district of Bardhaman. The first two were investigated by the National Commission of Women, which led to the truth coming out, but the third incident was completely hushed up.