WB governor submits report on Sandeshkhali protests, exposes police collusion with culprits

On Wednesday (14th February), West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose submitted a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs over the Sandeshkhali protests. The report held the West Bengal police responsible for colluding with “rowdy elements” in Sandeshkhali, where women have been demonstrating against alleged atrocities by the ruling TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his associates.

According to reports, the Governor visited the affected area on Monday and discussed with the protesting women. Governor Bose stated in the report that the local people are calling for the establishment of either a Special Task Force or a Special Investigation Team to investigate their claims of sexual harassment involving TMC leaders.

In his report, CV Ananda Bose said, “I have taken stock of the matter through direct interaction with the victims and by making extensive field visits in Sandeshkhali island. In my considered opinion, the situation there is highly reprehensible.”

According to sources, the governor also heard allegations of land grabbing for prawn cultivation and instances of coercing villagers to retract complaints filed by victims with the police. The Governor, during his visit, also listened to local reports of women facing torture and sexual harassment in the absence of men.

The Governor further said in his report, “From the interaction with the victims, it is evident that the competent authorities of the locality have failed to instil confidence among the harassed and affected villagers. The precarious situation where people are confused about ‘who are the offenders and who are the protectors’ does not augur well for a democratic society.” The report submitted by the Governor also mentions some accomplices of Shahjahan Sheikh who are involved in torturing the residents of Sandeshkhali.

The report further mentioned, “The ghastly, shocking and shattering assault on the modesty, dignity and honour of women in large numbers by a small gang who display symptoms of anti-social personality disorder does not bring credit to anyone down the line in a democratic regime.”

Sandeshkhali garnered attention when a mob attacked Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on 5th January during their search of the premises belonging to TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh. Since the incident, Sheikh has been evading authorities.

Notably, for the last week, women in several areas in Sandeshkhali of North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal have been protesting, demanding the arrest of TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan and others, narrating how the women in the area have been sexually exploited for a long time. The protests led to violence in the area, after which heavy police force have been deployed in the area.

Several women from Sandeshkhali have come forward to narrate how the women in the area are being raped by Sheikh Shahjahan, the mastermind behind the attack on the ED team, and other TMC workers and their aides. As per them, TMC workers regularly visit the area and pick out ‘beautiful women’ to exploit them. Some women said that they were taken to the party office in the night, and were released only after the men in the gang were ‘fully satisfied’.

Source: OpIndia

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