Home Politics Women in Sandeshkhali accuse TMC workers of rape, police deny allegations

Women in Sandeshkhali accuse TMC workers of rape, police deny allegations

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Women in Sandeshkhali accuse TMC workers of rape, police deny allegations

In Sandeshkhali, located within West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, a series of protests have erupted, shedding light on alleged atrocities committed by TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his associates. These protests, primarily led by women, have gained momentum in recent days, fueled by accusations of molestation and misconduct.

The situation escalated when Shajahan Sheikh, already under scrutiny for an alleged ration scam, went into hiding after an Enforcement Directorate raid. This event emboldened the victimized women to speak out against the TMC leader and his aides, fearing retribution while he was present in the area.

Despite facing intimidation and reluctance to involve law enforcement due to perceived bias towards the accused, the women found courage to voice their grievances. Their allegations range from late-night meetings under false pretenses to instances of molestation and harassment, with some reporting incidents dating back to 2020.

Sandeshkhali
Image: OpIndia

Among the accused is Uttam Sardar, a TMC zilla parishad member, who was arrested and subsequently suspended from the party following a molestation case filed against him. The victims, many of whom were part of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), describe being coerced into attending these meetings under the guise of SHG activities, with repercussions for those who refused to comply.

During a visit by Governor CV Anand Bose, these women seized the opportunity to share their experiences, shedding light on the pervasive nature of the abuse. Their testimonies prompted the Calcutta High Court to take suo motu cognisance of the matter, scheduling a hearing for further investigation on 20 February.

However, despite the gravity of the allegations, the West Bengal Police issued a statement refuting reports of rape, citing a lack of formal complaints. This assertion contradicts firsthand accounts, such as one woman’s claim of being raped by a TMC leader and subsequently abandoned, highlighting potential barriers to reporting, including fear of reprisal and societal stigma.

The discrepancy between official statements and on-the-ground realities underscores the need for a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations. The involvement of the judiciary signals a potential avenue for justice and accountability, offering hope to the victims and their supporters amidst a climate of uncertainty and apprehension.

As media attention intensifies, there is growing scrutiny on the response of both state authorities and political parties implicated in the scandal. Transparency and accountability are paramount in addressing the grievances of the victims and restoring public trust in the rule of law.

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