While West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee herself maintains a dismissive silence on the issues of women's safety plaguing the state and its capital Kolkata, she probably likes people of her state to follow her example and not fret too much about young girls getting raped and killed.
In what is indicative of a similar sentiment, the Kolkata Police today picked up and detained a group of peaceful protesters who had turned up in front of the chief minister's south Kolkata home to seek assurance of action and also submit a memorandum of demands.
Anuradha Kapoor, who is associated with the civil rights group Maitree, spoke to Firstpost about her ordeal. She, along with twelve of her colleagues, were picked up by the Kolkata Police from Kalighat and taken to the police headquarters at Lalbazar.
According to Kapoor, she and her colleagues turned up in front of Mamata Banerjee's house in Kalighat, Kolkata seeking an appointment with her. They were stopped at the police barricade in front of the chief minister's house at around 7.45 am today. They sought an appointment with the CM but were refused one.
"The police told us that we can't meet her since there are so many of us. So we said that the rest of us can wait outside while three or four people can go and meet her," Kapoor said.
However, the police still refused to let them in and the protesters too refused to budge.
"We had placards with us and we were singing songs. The police asked us to make way for vehicles, we did that too. Suddenly, the officer-in-charge of the Kalighat Police station started hollering at the women police constables on duty and asked them to make us leave. In no time, two police vans came and cops started dragging us and herding us into the vans. They rounded some of us up. Then they followed the rest in our group who had already left the spot and were several hundred metres away. They were picked up too and brought to the Lalbazar station," says Kapoor.
There were 40 activists, of which twelve were picked up and detained at the police headquarters. Till this report was filed, the activists were detained at the Lalbazar police station and were given no information about the charges against them.
"The state of women's security in terrible. It has been like that for a long time now and we elected a new government for a reason. However, they are in complete denial of the situation and when you protest, this is what you get. We had sought an appointment with the CM at the Writers' Buildings prior to this. She asked a deputy to inform us that the demands can be forwarded to the police chief and she didn't meet us," said Kapoor.
A 20-year-girl was gangraped and killed last Friday and a twelve-year-old suffered the same fate within four days of the other incident. Protests have broken out across the state following that.