Day after violence over girl’s death in Bengal, autopsy says ‘poisoning’

The BJP termed the autopsy report as a "cover-up" and reiterated its demand for an impartial probe

North Dinajpur
A BJP delegation reached Chopra on Monday morning, but they said they were denied permission to take out a rally with the girl's body | Photo: Twitter

A day after the death of a 17-year-old girl sparked violence in parts of north Bengal, the police on Monday (July 20) quoted her post mortem report as saying that she died due to poisoning and that there were no signs of sexual assault.

The victim was the sister of a BJP activist. The saffron party termed the autopsy report of the girl as a “cover-up” and reiterated its demand for an impartial probe into the incident. The ruling TMC accused the BJP of trying to “make an issue out of a non-issue.”

“No signs of external injury seen. Effects of poison. However, final opinion reserved pending till receipt of chemical examiners report,” the post mortem report said. It further said there were neither injury marks anywhere on the body nor signs of sexual or physical assault.

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The videography of the post-mortem was done, police said.

Alleging rape and murder of the girl, a mob had gone on a rampage in North Dinajpur district on Sunday, setting fire to several police vehicles and government buses on the National Highway 31 in Chopra area near Siliguri.

The girl, who had gone out of her house at Sonapur village on Sunday morning to relieve herself, was found dead a few hours later. The villagers alleged that she was raped before being murdered.

Meanwhile, the dead body of a youth was found in a pond in the same Chopra area Monday morning. The police are investigating whether the two deaths are linked in any way. They said they have so far arrested 16 people for their alleged involvement in Sunday’s violence.

The incident has caused the latest face-off between the TMC and the BJP, with the saffron party alleging that the girl was murdered as she was sister of a BJP activist.

Related news: Protests over minor’s death turn violent in Bengal’s North Dinajpur district

BJP state vice president Raju Banerjee said that the girl was murdered by “goons of TMC” as she is sister of a BJP activist. “The police are trying to pass off the rape and murder as suicide,” Banerjee said. He also said a BJP delegation reached Chopra this morning, but it was denied permission to take out a rally with the body of the girl in the area.

BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha termed the autopsy report a “cover-up” exercise to “protect” the culprits.

The TMC, however, termed the allegations baseless.

Senior TMC leader and minister Goutam Deb said, “The BJP is trying to fish in the troubled waters and is attempting to make an issue out of a non-issue.” “An incident has happened, the police are investigating the case. But, the BJP doesn’t have the patience to wait for its conclusion. The BJP is disturbing the peace of the area,” Deb said.

Members of the RSS-affiliated ABVP and Left-backed Democratic Youth Federation of India also protested in Jalpaiguri district’s Dhupguri area over the incident, leading to tensions. The area remained tense for a second consecutive day on Monday, even as a huge police contingent has been deployed to maintain peace.

The BJP Mahila Morcha held a protest rally in Kolkata on Monday over the incident, alleging that she was sexually assaulted and murdered. The rally, led by BJP Mahila Morcha state unit president Agnimitra Paul, which was to be held from Gariahat to Deshapriya Park in south Kolkata, was stopped by the police at the outset.

The police claimed that since there was no permission for a procession, it would not be allowed. Women police personnel barricaded the road preventing the protesters from moving forward. “We were told by the police that we will not be allowed to hold the protest procession, so we are holding a demonstration here,” Paul said.

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