West Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, 27 April, accused the BJP and CPI(M) of defaming the state and said that some sections of the media are spreading misinformation about the Hanskhali rape-murder case.
A 14-year-old girl from Hanskhali village in the state died earlier this month, after she was allegedly gangraped at a birthday party.
In a virtual meeting with the police and administration on Wednesday, the CM said, "a suicide case was turned into a rape case. BJP and CPI(M) are both trying to defame Bengal. We will not let Bengal become Hathras or Unnao."
She also asked the BJP if there is any truth in the complaints filed against her and challenged the party to publish news against the Trinamool Congress (TMC) if it holds true.
Banerjee had earlier dismissed the alleged rape case as a "love affair".
A First Information Report (FIR) in the case includes the names of the victim's father, relative, and a neighbour in addition to that of the main accused Brajagopal Goyala, the son of a local panchayat member of the TMC.
The family had alleged that the minor's body was forcibly taken for cremation even before the death certificate could be issued.
Incident Happened Due to Police Negligence: CM
Banerjee alleged that the gruesome incident happened only due to police negligence and questioned how the inspector in charge of the case could not maintain correct facts and keep the government informed.
She said, "How did Hanskhali (rape-murder) incident occur? Why did inspector in charge not keep forth correct facts? This occurred due to his negligence. It needs to be reported how many people died in your district. Panchayat issues certificates and we don't even know about it."
The chief minister asserted that law and order is being maintained in the state and said that media is spreading false information about the case. She added that BJP-ruled states such as Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh don't allow journalists to publish the truth but in instead, "we lodge complaints," she said.
"Law and order is good in West Bengal but sections of media spreading misinformation. They begin media trials. In my state, we lodge complaints. In UP, Gujarat, MP they don't allow it. You must've seen journalists were naked so that they don't publish news but in my state that doesn't happen."
On Birbhum Massacre
Commenting on the Birbhum massacre, she added that the violence and murders could have been avoided had the police acted on time.
She asked, "Why didn't additional SP and officers get inside? If there’s an incident they should have anticipated retaliation. Because of your negligence the government is facing face loss."
The charred bodies of nine people were recovered on 22 March, from a village in West Bengal's Birbhum district after nearly 10-12 houses were set ablaze.
The houses were set on fire amid protests over the alleged murder of a leader from the ruling TMC named Bhadu Sheikh. Six people have been arrested by the CBI so far in connection with the case.
(With inputs from ANI.)