Mamata Banerjee blames BJP for unrest in Sandeshkhali, urges people to speak up


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) amid the ongoing violence in Sandeshkhali, accusing it of orchestrating tensions in the region.

Alleging the involvement of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and “its friend” BJP, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo also criticised certain media outlets for sensationalising the situation.

Sandeshkhali, a village in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, has been witnessing protests over allegations of sexual abuse of women by a local TMC strongman, Sheikh Shahjahan, and his aides.

“An incident occurred in Sandeshkhali, and it seemed to be orchestrated. Initially, the Enforcement Directorate visited the area, followed by its friend BJP. Subsequently, certain media outlets amplified the incident, turning a minor issue into a significant controversy,” Mamata Banerjee said.

Furthermore, the Chief Minister emphasised her commitment to justice, stating, “I have never supported injustice”.

During a public meeting, Mamata Banerjee asked people with grievances to come forward and assured that any unlawfully acquired land would be returned.

“I am sending officers to Sandeshkhali. People who have grievances, please speak up. If anyone’s land has been taken, that will be returned,” she assured.

Mamata Banerjee also pointed out that no women from the troubled pockets of Sandeshkhali has registered an FIR in the matter.

Several women in the region have accused Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of land-grab and sexually assaulting them under coercion.

Shajahan has been evading authorities since a group, reportedly linked to him, assaulted officials from the Enforcement Directorate during a raid on his premises on January 5, related to an investigation into a ration scam.

Earlier in the day, three Bengal ministers visited Sandeshkhali, which has been witnessing protests, to “speak to people about their grievances”. The land department has also opened camps to register the complaints of villagers about alleged land grabbing.

Meanwhile, leaders of the BJP and Congress have criticised Mamata Banerjee for what they termed as fostering a “lawless situation” and attempting to “communalise the issue”.

Published By:

Sahil Sinha

Published On:

Feb 18, 2024



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