‘It looked like dogs had attacked them’: shock, politics over alleged gang-rape of two women in Bengal

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Two women of a family are in a hospital in West Bengal after being allegedly gang-raped by eight men in a village in the Howrah district, neighbouring Kolkata, on Tuesday.

The women looked like “dogs had attacked them”, according to people of their village.

The alleged assault apparently had political overtones; the women are from a family of CPM supporters and the alleged rapists, seven of whom have been arrested, are said to be linked to the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress.

An eighth person named in the FIR, Barun Makal, is reportedly an election agent of a Trinamool legislator. He is still missing.

The women were attacked in their home in village Muktirchak that is said to be dominated by CPM supporters. The older woman, who is in her 40s, is the younger woman’s husband’s aunt. Their husbands had reportedly fled about a month ago after a fight with Trinamool supporters, so no one was around to help on Tuesday night when the attackers allegedly barged in after cutting off power to the village and allegedly took turns raping the women.

Villagers have said the attackers “punished” the women as their husbands are Left supporters.

“This is completely political and barbaric, the message the Trinamool Congress is sending is those who have not voted for them will be targeted like this,” said Politburo member Brinda Karat.

Trinamool MP Mukul Roy was furious when asked if those arrested for the double gang rape were supporters of his party. “The rapists have no caste or colour. I know you are from a specific news channel (24 Ghanta) because you are holding a logo. Were the arrested men carrying Trinamool ID cards? What you are doing is paid journalism,” he shouted.