Kolkata: A woman in West Bengal Monday alleged that she was tied naked to a tree, beaten and branded over allegations of stealing. A couple were arrested but got bail which prompted the opposition to accuse the Mamata Banerjee government of "patronising criminals".
Police Monday arrested a man and his wife for the incident that occurred Sunday in Kultoli in Baruipur subdivision of South 24 Parganas district. However, both the accused were granted bail by a court.
"I was accused of stealing and a gang lead by Sanjib Maiti tied me naked to a tree and beat me with sticks. They also branded me with hot metal," said the woman who later filed a police complaint.
Baruipur sub-divisional police officer Deepak Sarkar said Maiti and his wife were arrested, but granted bail by a court.
While the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) alleged the involvement of Trinamool Congress activists, the Congress and the BJP slammed the state administration over the accused getting bail.
"After tying her naked to a tree, they subjected her to indescribable atrocities. She was subjected to this brutality only just because she is a CPI-M supporter. Trinamool goons have been attacking our people for long. We demand the arrests of all the perpetrators," former minister and CPI-M leader Kanti Ganguly said after visiting the woman.
However, Trinamool's Kultoli block president Gopal Majhi denied the allegations.
"The entire thing has been staged by the CPI-M and their leader (Ganguly) is trying to frame us and malign the Trinamool," he said.
Actress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly, who recently joined Bharatiya Janata Party, slammed Chief Minister Banerjee for the rise in crimes against women in the state.
"When the chief minister herself described rape as a 'petty matter', then such crimes are bound to happen. It's a shame that a state headed by a woman CM has been hitting the headlines for crime against woman," said the actress, who gained cult popularity for playing Draupadi in the television series "Mahabharat".
Former state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya too attacked the administration for pressing lighter charges against the two accused.
"Not a single day passes when attacks on women are not taking place. Instead of taking strict action, the administration is actually encouraging criminals by either not taking any action or by pressing lighter charges," said Bhattacharya.
The incident comes days after a woman in Birbhum district was tortured and nettle leaves rubbed into her private parts allegedly by a police team to extract information about her nephew - a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader wanted for his alleged involvement in a political clash.
A National Commission for Women team, headed by chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam, Saturday recorded the Birbhum woman's statement and assured of taking action in the matter.