People broke out in an agitation in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas recently. They were demanding the arrest of absconding TMC leader Sheikh Shajahan and his aides. Armed with sticks and brooms, locals of Sandeshkhali took out processions in different areas since yesterday morning. Shajahan’s aide Shiboprasad Hazra’s house was also vandalized. Some furniture in the house was torched by the agitators, police said. A poultry farm in Zeliakhali belonging to Hazra was also set ablaze, said the police.
Superintendent of Police Hossain Mehedi Rahaman said forces were sent to the area. They were working to bring the situation under control. He said a complaint was lodged by the villagers against Shajahan and his aides on Thursday and it was being looked into. Meantime, searches were on for them, the SP said.
Locals alleged that Shajahan and his gang of men captured swathes of land by force, besides torturing people during their “reign”. There were also claims how they got local young men so addicted to liquor that they were rendered incapable of hard and sincere work.
Meanwhile, Shajahan’s supporters also took to the streets, and police said they were trying to prevent a clash. The TMC claimed that the BJP and CPI(M) were inciting the people to foment unrest in the area.
“There may have been discontentment against one or two TMC leaders in the area. The conspirators took advantage of that to foment trouble. It is an isolated incident. People’s grievances will be addressed,” TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.
Opposition Claims Agitation Was Outburst Of Pent-up Public Rage
BJP said the incident was a result of pent-up rage among the local people who had borne the brunt of the TMC gang. “The incident in Sandeshkhali is a trailer of things to come. The TMC regime will not last for long,” BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya claimed.
CPI(M) leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya claimed that the “illegal occupation” of hundreds of acres of land and police inaction had led to the public outburst. “This was not political, it was a spontaneous mob fury,” he stated.
Shajahan Absconding Since Day Of ED Raid In Sandeshkhali
Shajahan went missing last month after a team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) went to raid his house in connection with the alleged ration scam. The team on an official mission was attacked by a mob there. They had to abandon their raid owing to injuries on them. Their vehicles were also attacked and vandalized and mobile phones stolen.