KOLKATA:To mollify the public after the death of a braveheart assaulted for protesting against eveteasing in West Bengal’s Howrah district, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday visited the youth’s home and offered a job for a family member, but denied any eveteasing, leading to strong reactions from the Opposition parties.
While visiting the home of Arup Bhandari, who succumbed to his injuries on Monday after remaining in coma for five days, Mamata remarked, “The death is unfortunate, but it was the result of a clash between two groups. If there was any eveteasing at all, those women have to be found out.”
However, the family rejected the Chief Minister’s claim and Arup’s brother, Amar said, “There was no question of any factional fight. My brother was killed as he protested against teasing of some women who were passing by. If we knew those young women, we would have identified them before the police.”
But Mamata conceded the failure of the police, and sensing the anger among the people in a district considered a bastion of the Trinamool Congress said, “The police should have acted earlier and arrested the culprits.
Now wherever they are the police will arrest them. Arup was a good youth and one of our civic police volunteers.”
Her reaction triggered strong reactions from the Opposition parties, with state BJP leader Tathagata Roy alleging, “She is known for her undiluted lies. Assault, murders and rapes had been described by her as small incidents and contrived.
Now she has come up with a theory of factional feud.”
Mamata had earlier described the Park Street gangrape case as “contrived”, reacted to the rape of a woman onboard a train by saying “her husband is a CPM member”, termed the death of a student leader in police custody “a petty matter” and called two women protesters against the brutal gang rape and murder of a female student as “Maoists”.
CPM leader Sujon Chakraborty alleged, “She does not know how to speak the truth, only utter lies.”