Fact-Finding Team Led By Retired Judge Stopped By Cops On Way To Sandeshkhali

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Fact-Finding Team Led By Retired Judge Stopped By Cops On Way To Sandeshkhali

The committee is slated to submit a report to the constitutional authorities.


Six members of an independent fact-finding committee, led by former Chief Justice of Patna High Court L Narasimha Reddy, were stopped by police as they were proceeding to the trouble-torn Sandeshkhali area in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district to probe alleged incidents of atrocities on women.

Citing Section 144 CrPC was in force in parts of Sandeshkhali and it would not be prudent to allow them access to the area even in groups of four-five, senior police officers stopped their convoy at the Bhojerhat area, which is around 52 km from the riverine area, on Basanti Highway.

Justice Reddy (retired), accompanied by former IPS officer Raj Pal Singh, former National Commission for Women member Charu Wali Khanna, advocates O P Vyas and Bhavna Bajaj, and senior journalist Sanjeev Nayak, sat on the wayside vowing to proceed to the area as high drama followed.

“This is completely illegal. We have told the police personnel as law-abiding citizens we will not break rules. No curfew has been imposed in Sandeshkhali. So we can go in two groups. At least two of our women members should be allowed to visit the women who had bore the brunt of atrocities of musclemen enjoying political patronage and impunity from police action in all these days till the media unravelled the shocking truth”, Justice Reddy (retd) said.

Claiming they were given a copy of the section 144 order as they set off for the journey, he said “The administration cannot stop civil society members of the country to interact with victims of human rights violation. What they (administration) are scared to hide?”

He recalled that panel members had been stopped from visiting certain pockets of Howrah, singed by clashes between two groups during Ram Navami, halted at Howrah Bridge last year though others from the ruling party were allowed to go.

Another member of the group told reporters they would “peacefully sit on one side of the road”, without hindering the movement of vehicles till being allowed to proceed.

The group comprising a former judge, bureaucrats, and a journalist, was slated to visit Sandeshkhali today to also probe alleged incidents of Trinamool Congress leaders grabbing residents land to convert into bheris (fish farm).

They are scheduled to visit Majherpara, Natun para, Patra para and Naskarpara Ras temple under the jurisdiction of Sandeshkhali police station limits.

The committee is slated to submit a report to the constitutional authorities.

A few days back, a fact-finding team of BJP consisting of Union minister Annapurna Devi, Pratima Bhowmik, MP Sunita Duggal, Kavita Patidar, Sangeeta Yadav and Rajya Sabha member and former director general of police of Uttar Pradesh Brij Lal was stopped by police from entering Sandeshkhali.

On Saturday, a Trinamool delegation consisting of two West Bengal ministers Partha Bhowmik and Sujit Basu visited different parts of the riverine area, interacted with locals, and promised their grievances would be addressed expeditiously.

They had also promised all those guilty involved in alleged atrocities would be brought to book and the ruling party has ‘zero tolerance’ to the wrongdoings of a section of local leaders.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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