Sandeshkhali horror: Women’s panel chief meets victims, questions Mamata Banerjee

National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma on Monday slammed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after she visited the women in Sandeshkhali who raised allegations of sexual violence against Trinamool Congress leaders.

Sharing a video of herself consoling a crying woman in Sandeshkhali, Rekha Sharma wrote on X, “How can a woman CM not get effected by the pain of these poor helpless women (sic)”.

She also demanded the resignation of Mamata Banerjee and the imposition of President’s Rule in West Bengal. Rekha Sharma accused the TMC government in the state of trying to silence the women in Sandeshkhali.

“I have said this many times that she (Mamata Banerjee) should go there as a woman and see what is happening. If she goes there as a Chief Minister and with the motive of trying to save her government, she will not see anything,” said Rekha Sharma.

Just days earlier, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) also recommended the imposition of President’s rule in the state in its report submitted to President Droupadi Murmu on the Sandeshkhali issue.

After speaking to the women in Sandeshkhali, Rekha Sharma told PTI news agency that the situation is “dire”. She added that one woman alleged that she was raped inside a TMC office.

“The women of Sandeshkhali are being harassed very badly. They have been molested. Two rape cases were reported to me… All the women said they are afraid of coming to the fore — first due to the fear of society and second because of the police,” she added.

Rekha Sharma said the women in Sandeshkhali have sent away their young daughters as they are unsure what atrocities would happen to them.

The NCW chief also alleged that the TMC government was “not allowing the state administration to cooperate” with central agencies.

“Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has never allowed her officers to meet teams of central officers as she is trying to hide the truth. But the truth will come out,” Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI.

She said she accompanied several women to file a complaint with the police as they were not ready to do it without her.

Rekha Sharma said absconding TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan should be arrested at the earliest so more women can come forward with complaints.

The allegations of sexual violence committed by TMC leaders came out after Shahjahan went into hiding after he came on the radar of the Enforcement Directorate.

The NCW chief said arresting Shahjahan would instil confidence among the women. She added that she will talk to the police.

“The administration and the police are not listening to complaints of women and they do not do anything. Only one woman has come out and registered her statement before a magistrate. We want more women to come to the front,” said Sharma.

Based on the woman’s complaint, two TMC leaders Shibaprasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar, who are close aides of Sheikh Shahjahan, were arrested on charges of gangrape.

Rekha Sharma also said she will meet West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose and President Murmu after talking to the women in Sandeshkhali.

Published By:

chingkheinganbi mayengbam

Published On:

Feb 19, 2024

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