Sandeshkhali: National Commission for Scheduled Castes recommends President’s rule in West Bengal

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) chief Arun Halder on Friday said the commission has recommended the imposition of President’s rule in West Bengal in its report submitted to President Droupadi Murmu on alleged harassment of women by TMC supporters in Sandeshkhali.

A delegation of the NCSC had visited Sandeshkhali on Thursday after a large number of women claimed that TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters captured swathes of land by force and also sexually harassed them.

Speaking to reporters after submitting the report to the President, Halder shared a brief account of “atrocities and violence endured by the people of Sandeshkhali”.

“We have recommended that President’s rule should be imposed in West Bengal over the situation there under Article 338 that aims to safeguard rights of SCs,” Halder said.

According to the mandate given to the NCSC under Article 338 of the Constitution, it is the duty of the Commission to present to the President annually and at other times, as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of the constitutional safeguards of the Scheduled Castes.

He said the President assured the commission that she would look into the matter and take proper action.

Halder said the state government tried to dissuade them from visiting the area, citing the law and order situation there and made no arrangements for their visit when they landed in the state.

“Criminals in the state have joined hands with the government there,” he claimed.

The violence in Sandeshkhali is also impacting the people from the Scheduled Caste communities, Halder said.

Many women in Sandeshkhali are demanding the immediate arrest of Sheikh, who has been absconding since an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team that raided his house in connection with an alleged ration scam was attacked by a mob last month.

He said West Bengal has the second highest population of the SC in the country and they are suffering due to the violence. He said over the matter of violence, the Commission has also sent a notice to the state government to take immediate action.

“The state is suppose to protect them but that is not happening and they are in fact suffering under the state government rule,” he said.

Sandeshkhali continued to remain tense on Friday even as a BJP central team and a Congress delegation are scheduled to visit the area during the day.

A large number of women in the locality accused Trinamool Congress strongman Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of “land-grab and sexually assaulting” them under coercion.

Sheikh has been absconding since January 5 when a mob attacked Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers during a raid at his residence in connection with an alleged ration scam.

His aide Sibhu Hazra is also at large.

Published By:

Ashutosh Acharya

Published On:

Feb 16, 2024

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