NIA seeks information from WB Police over allegations of Human trafficking in Sandeshkhali

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has reportedly sought details from the West Bengal police regarding the allegations of human trafficking in the Sandeshkhali incident where multiple women have accused TMC leaders and their henchmen of sexual exploitation and systemic rapes. According to reports, the Sandeshkhali investigation has widened with this probe by the NIA.

As per reports, the agency has not yet registered a separate case in this matter. However, the central agency which is probing Human trafficking cases at the India-Bangladesh border has sought details from the state police in connection with the allegations of human trafficking in the Sandeshkhali incident. The NIA had charge-sheeted around a dozen individuals including Bangladeshi nationals in the Human trafficking cases near the porous India-Bangladesh borders.

Speaking with Times Now, the NCW Chairperson had also raised the potential Human trafficking angle in this incident. The Bhartiya Janata Party has also alleged the potential involvement of Human trafficking in the Sandeshkhali. However, the ruling Trinamool Congress has been downplaying the allegations of Sandeshkhali women as a ‘minor incident’ rejecting it as a conspiracy of the BJP/RSS. The ruling party has also denied the Human trafficking angle.

Meanwhile, 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.

The report claimed that sexual exploitation was perpetrated by both Police officers and members of the ruling TMC. The report read, “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).”

Pertinent to note that Sandeshkhali is located on one of the thousand islands created by the Sundarbans, the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta system in the North 24 Parganas district. The NCW report is of particular concern because the Sundarbans are shared by India and Bangladesh. The area is prone to illegal trafficking of humans, cattle, currency, and livestock.

Sandeshkhali incident

Tensions have been high in Sandeshkhali since January when local women staged protests demanding the arrest of Sheikh Shahjahan and his accomplices Uttam Sardar and Shibu Prasad Hazra. The Sandeshkhali women have accused them of forcibly acquiring land, pumping saltwater into fields to render them unusable, and engaging in institutional sexual harassment.

The women have accused them of sexually assaulting women “night after night and release them only when they are satisfied”. While Shibu Hazra and Uttam Sardar have been arrested, the mastermind of Sandeshkhali, Sheikh Shahjahan is still absconding.

Source: OpIndia

Tags : National

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