Home NEWSCURRENT AFFAIRS Sandeshkhali Women Celebrate Shajahan’s Arrest with “Vande Mataram”

Sandeshkhali Women Celebrate Shajahan’s Arrest with “Vande Mataram”

by Web Desk
Sandeshkhali Women Celebrate Shajahan's Arrest with “Vande Mataram”

For the local women of Sandeshkhali, it is a day of celebration today. The women protestors are jubilant over the arrest of local TMC leader and strongman, Sheikh Shajahan. The women have been protesting against him and members of his gang against alleged atrocities and sexual assaults on them by the men. The protest had gathered considerable momentum and found solidarity with women’s groups and central government bodies. Today, they celebrated with cries of “Vande Mataram” and smeared abir on each other.

It may be remembered that the National Commission for Women (NCW) recently said in its report that its fact-finding team in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali found that women who spoke out against the atrocities were met with retaliation. Allegations of sexual exploitation and land grabbing against local TMC leaders have emerged from Sandeshkhali with Sheikh Shahjahan, a member of the Zila Parishad, as the prime culprit.

Some of these atrocities included property confiscation, “arbitrary arrests of male family members, and future acts of brutality.”

As per the report, the victims recounted instances of physical and sexual violence carried out on them allegedly by both police officers and Trinamool Congress (TMC) members. “Disturbing testimonies gathered from women in the village painted a harrowing picture of widespread fear and systematic abuse. Victims in Sandeshkhali recounted instances of physical and sexual violence perpetrated by both police officers and members of the Trinamool Congress (TMC),” the NCW report, accessed by media sources, read.

In a collective statement signed as ‘Sandeshkhali Gramvasi’, the women have given an account of the horrors they have faced including harassment, torture and violations of their dignity and rights. “The gravity of the situation was underscored by an alarming incident wherein an NCW committee member recorded a woman’s testimony, only to have the recording deleted as the victim begged for her safety,” the NCW report stated.

Notably, the West Bengal police had imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in parts of Sandeshkhali mainly because of the protests by the locals, who were armed with lathis and brooms. The ongoing protests were against exploitation towards the local people allegedly by Shahjahan Sheikh and his men.

Parts of Sandeshkhali also experienced internet closures for the past few days as protests intensified.

BJP protests Sandeshkhali atrocities

Soon after the reports of atrocities in Sandeshkhali, BJP’s West Bengal unit protested against the TMC and sought action Sheikh Shahjahan.

“Sandeshkhali has shown the way to the whole state. The miscreants have the Chief Minister’s support. TMC leaders are helping the miscreants out. That is why the police are not arresting them. Until Shahjahan is arrested, there will be wide protests in the state. The state government is unable to arrest him,” Howrah BJP Women’s Unit leader Falguni Pathak told Aaj Tak Bangla.

WB Opposition questions TMC, Governor CV Ananda Bose

Commenting on the tense situtation in Sandeshkhali, opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari said on X (formerly Twitter): “At a time when the locals have mustered up the courage to protest against such atrocities, the Mamata Police have sided with the TMC goons. They have imposed Section 144 to quell the protests and have teamed up with the goons to attack the protestors at their homes in the darkness of the night.”

On February 11, Adhikari had also given the West Bengal CV Ananda Bose a 24-hour ultimatum to intervene in Sandeshkhali. He also slammed the TMC and called it a “rapist party”, saying it was the only one responsible for the current violence.

TMC is a rapist party. All BJP leaders have been arrested. No other party has any role in it but the TMC,” Adhikari said.

Sandeshkhali location

Sandeshkhali is located on one of the thousand islands created by the Sundarbans, the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta system. The NCW report is of particular concern because the Sundarbans are shared by India and Bangladesh. The area is infested with illegal trafficking of humans, cattle, currency and livestock.

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