Clashes have broken out between the police and members of the opposition Communist Party of India (CPM) in the eastern India city of Kolkata over the death of a 16-year-old girl who was raped.

Protests erupted when police tried to stop the victim’s father from holding a condolence rally and cremate his daughter’s body.

The police have been accused of forcefully trying to cremate the body without the family’s consent, according to agency reports.

CPM leader Rabin Deb told PTI news agency that the police stopped the condolence rally as there was a “dearth of policemen due to New Year celebrations”.

The girl who was gang-raped twice on October 25 had attempted suicide by setting herself on fire. She had been taken to the city hospital where she died on Wednesday.

Unending harassment

Reports suggest the girl had been shamed by the rapists to take the extreme step of attempting to immolate herself.

They had threatened the family if they reported the crime to authorities.

Members of the Communist Party trade unions and the girl’s father, a taxi driver, wanted to lead a protest procession with the body on Tuesday night before cremation.

The girl’s family alleged that the police stopped the procession and “confiscated” the body for a few hours after insisting that it should be cremated at a place of their choice. The police have denied the allegations.

The girl’s body was released early on Wednesday. The funeral procession will be held in Calcutta today.

The mysterious manner in which the police tried to thwart the procession has raised questions about who could have tried to buy the silence of the aggrieved family.

Civil society members of Kolkata will meet the state governor later on Wednesday to protest against this incident.

Source: Al Jazeera