Updated February 28th, 2024 at 21:39 IST

Sandeshkhali: Calcutta HC Allows Fact-Finding Team to Visit Violence-Hit Areas on March 1

Sandeshkhali LIVE: The BJP began its sit-in dharna today against sexual assault and violence faced by tribal women. Stay tuned for all the latest updates.

Reported by: Tanisha Rajput
Sandeshkhali Uprising | Image:ANI
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North 24 Parganas: Sandeshkhali continues to be a boiling point with locals and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urging the Mamata Banerjee government for Shahjahan Sheikh's arrest. Sheikh, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, who is accused of sexual assault against women and forcefully grabbing land of people in the violence-hit area continues to be on the run. This comes as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also took a dig into the matter and said that the West Bengal government is fully apprised of the whereabouts of absconding TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and urged for his immediate arrest.

This comes as the Calcutta High Court earlier on Monday directed officials to arrest Sheikh. Sheikh's aides are being arrested and the Bengal govt has claimed that the TMC leader will be arrested within 7 days.

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Here are the top developments on Sandeshkhali:- 

Mamata Refutes Sandeshkhali-Nandigram Comparisons

Dismissing the BJP’s attempts to draw parallels between anti-land acquisition agitations in Nandigram and Singur in the past and those currently taking place in Sandeshkhali, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee insisted that the two cannot be compared. Banerjee was, however, careful not to name Sandeshkhali directly while making that observation. 

"Remember Singur is Singur, Nandigram is Nandigram, Khatra is Khatra, and Bishnupur is Bishunupur. Each place has its own characteristics. So do not compare one with the other," the West Bengal chief minister said while speaking at the administrative review meeting held at Khatra in Bankura. "Do not make the mistake of inciting violence. I do not want any bloodshed and any incident of torture anywhere. I do not support any wrongdoing and I won’t do that ever in my life. Even if some wrong was unknowingly committed somewhere, I do not support that as well," she said.

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BJP leader Bikash Singh Gets Bail 

The Calcutta High Court granted bail to BJP leader Bikash Singh, who was arrested in connection with alleged violent protests at Sandeshkhali. Singh moved the court seeking quashing of proceedings against him and prayed for interim bail. Justice Kausik Chanda granted bail to Singh, his lawyer Rajdeep Majumdar said.  

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6-member fact-finding team to visit Sandeshkhali on March 1

Calcutta High Court allowed the 6-member fact-finding team, led by a former judge of the Patna High Court, to go to Sandeshkhali on March 1. The fact-finding team will go to Majherpara, Natunpara, and Naskarpara. Justice Kaushik Chandra also allowed State LoP and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari to go to Sandeshkhali. No inflammatory comments can be made. He will go tomorrow.

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Not Only Bengal Police But CBI and ED Can Also Arrest Sheikh: Calcutta HC

Calcutta High Court clarifies that not only the West Bengal police but also the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) can arrest absconding leader Shahjahan Sheikh.

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The Court further questioned why hasn't Sheikh been arrested yet.

The High Court will hear the matter again on Monday. 

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The Scoundrel of Sandeshkhali - Seikh Shahjahan is in Safe Custody: Suvendu Adhikari

Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Wednesday claimed that the absconding TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh is in "safe custody" of the police since last night.

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Taking to X, Adhikari, the Nandigram MLA, claimed Shajahan was in police custody since 12 am after being "taken away from Bermajur gram panchayat after he managed a deal with the police through influential mediators that he would be taken care of properly while in police and judicial custody".

"He will be extended five star facilities during his time behind the bars and will have access to a mobile phone, through which he will be able to lead the TMC virtually. Even a bed in Woodburn Ward (state-run SSKM Hospital) will be kept ready and vacant for him if he chooses to spend some time there," he added.

However, the ruling Trinamool Congress dismissed Adhikari's claim as "baseless" and as an "attempt at disturbing the law and order situation", while claiming that the police is doing everything to nab Sheikh.

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Police Are Hiding Shahjahan Sheikh: Dilip Joshi

Participating in BJP's sit-in dharna, leader Dilip Joshi said, "The police are hiding Sheikh Shahjahan. He is a criminal and has been accused of murder, rape, helping illegal Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants, and cow smuggling."

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What Happened in Sandeshkhali is Not Only Shame For West Bengal but For Entire Country: Kiren Rijiju

Union Minister of Earth and Sciences, Kiren Rijiju said, "The incident that happened in Sandeshkhali is shameful not only for West Bengal but for the entire country. TMC and Mamata Banerjee's government tried to hide it and protect the criminals. Now the order has come from the court...all the important Commissions have given their reports...people are upset with TMC and they will support PM Modi and in the next election, all BJP candidates will win..."

BJP Begins Sit-in Dharna 

The state's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun its sit-in dharna against the sexual exploitation, landgrab, intimidation, and violence faced by locals in Sandeshkhali.

We want him to be punished, That He Be Hanged: Women in Sandeshkhali File Complaint Against Shahjahan Sheikh

Women in Sandeshkhali began sloganeering and approached Bengal police officials to file a complaint against Shahjahan Sheikh. 

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"We are going to file a complaint. The roads here are not good, there is no water supply through taps, electric polls are useless...We are living in fear. We are scared of Sheikh Shahjahan and goons...Can one man not be arrested? It has been several days now. We want him to be punished, that he be hanged."

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150 Villagers Reclaim Their Land: Report

Amid the ongoing ruckus, several villagers in Sandeshkhali who complained of land grabbing have reclaimed their properties, with the state govt starting the process of returning them.

As per media reports, almost 150 villagers have reclaimed their lands in the violence-hit area till Monday.

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Furthermore, the North 24 Parganas DM said that they have received 400 complaints including land dispute issues like grabbing, converting into bheris (fish farms), allowing influx of saline water into bheris and non-payment of dues of land lease money.

‘Mamata Bites Dust Again’: BJP to Stage Sit-in-Dharna From Today 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be staging a sit-in dharna for two days, i.e. on Feb 28 and 29. Earlier the Kolkata Police barred the party from staging the dharna. However, the party moved to Calcutta HC and the court then overruled Kolkata Police’s order barring the state's BJP from holding dharna against the sexual exploitation, landgrab, intimidation, and violence perpetrated by TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan in Sandeshkhali.

As per a post shared by BJP leader Amit Malviya, the dharna will be held at the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Maidan.

However, the HC has directed the party to a few conditions that have to be followed. This includes litigants taking care that examinees don't face problems, dharna to be held within 150 people, and the use of mics is prohibited. 

'My body shakes as I speak about Sandeshkhali': Sitharaman

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the 'poor law and order situation and corruption' in West Bengal under the current Trinamool Congress government is making the state 'stand out among other states.'

Speaking at a cultural programme organised by Khola Hawa in Kolkata, she said, "It is corruption, poor law and order and extortion that are making the state stand out under TMC's rule. My body shakes when I talk about Sandeshkhali and its crimes. The administration is not arresting the culprit. You know where he is. How else can you say that he will be arrested in a week?"

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"I remember how they raised questions in the Parliament over the Manipur issue, but what is happening in Sandeshkhali?" she added. 

ISF’s Naushad Siddique Released 8hrs After His Arrest in Kolkata

Nearly eight hours after his arrest, the lone India Secular Front (ISF) leader Naushad Siddique was released by the Kolkata Police on Tuesday evening, as per media reports.

Siddique was arrested on Tuesday morning as he tried to visit the trouble-ridden Sandeshkhali. Coming out of the police headquarters at Lalbazar in Kolkata, he threatened to drag the city police authorities to court on charges of illegal arrest.

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He said, "The police’s action was against my right to free movement, which is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. I will move court against those police officials who prevented me from reaching Sandeshkhali. I will make them understand that the democratic rights of a free citizen and a responsible Opposition leader cannot be trampled in such a manner."

 

 

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Published February 28th, 2024 at 08:38 IST