In the Know Your Candidate series, rightlog.in will profile interesting candidates in the run-up to the 2019 General Elections.
On Tuesday, the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress released a list of candidates for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. Lok Sabha elections in the state will begin on April 11 and polling would be held over seven phases through May 19 with counting done on May 23.
According to Mamata Banerjee, six sitting members of Parliament will not contest the polls and they will work for the organisation. Mamata Banerjee has released a list with 41% women candidates. While this is a welcome move, it seems to be the result of a desire to have a substantial quantity of women candidates, Mamata Banerjee has ignored all principles and chosen unsatisfactory leaders to represent the TMC in the state. In a bid to popularize the party by celebrity fame, the TMC President has nominated Tollywood celebrities and various other popular figures in the party. Among these is the actress Nusrat Jahan who has been listed as the TMC candidate for the Basirhat Lok Sabha seat.
The announcement of this name has sparked off a collective national concern. Kader Khan, Nusrat Jahan’s fiance was one of the main accused in the infamous Park Street rape case of Kolkata. Nusrat was accused of shielding him and lying to the police about his whereabouts.
On the night of 5 February 2012, a woman named Suzette Jordan was offered a lift outside Park Street, Kolkata night club by 5 men and was gang-raped by them inside the moving car at gunpoint. The 5 accused were Kader Khan, Md Ali, Sumeet Bajaj, Ruman Khan, and Nasir Ali.
After much controversy and politicisation, 3 of the accused were arrested and the trial began. Kader Khan was absconding and was finally arrested four years later, in September 2016, from Greater Noida. Reportedly, Jahan was in close contact with Kader Khan after the rape. Upon being questioned by the police Nusrat had denied meeting Kader at the hotel room which was booked in their name. After that Nusrat had returned to Kolkata and had booked tickets for Kader to travel to Patna. However, she had denied meeting him. Curiously though, Nusrat was curiously not named by the police in the charge sheet, even after Kader’s hotel stay with Nusrat was mentioned in the charge-sheet in the form of a copy of the hotel register. Mamata Banerjee upon being pressurized by the media to investigate into the case, dismissed it be referring to it as a ‘fabricated case’. Another female TMC leader, Kakoli Ghose Dastidar had stated that, “It’s not at all a rape case. It was a misunderstanding between two people in a professional dealing between the lady and her client”.
Guilt ridden and paranoid, Mamata had even clamped down on two Bengali movies that had a storyline resembling the incident. She even suppressed a movie that mentioned the Park Street Rape case casually in passing.
Damayanti Sen, a female IPS officer of Kolkata was the person who cracked the case and stayed on a single-minded pursuit that eventually saw the culprits being sentenced, even after the CM, politicians and several top bureaucrats had attempted to dismiss the case as fabrication. Sen was in turn, sacked from her post and sent to an ‘inferior’ post.
Mamata Banerjee, for some reason, unsuccessfully attempted to shush the rape and ended up concealing Nusrat Jahan’s involvement in the case. Obviously they go way back and now Jahan has been given a ticket to contest for the polls for the TMC.
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