West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose Says Sandeshkhali Situation Highly Reprehensible

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Sandeshkhali Situation 'Highly Reprehensible': West Bengal Governor

Bengal Governor said locals want a Special Task Force to probe into their allegations.

Kolkata:

West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose has submitted a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs, blaming the law enforcers for working hand in glove with “rowdy elements” in Sandeshkhali where women have been protesting against alleged atrocities by the ruling TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his followers, according to Raj Bhavan sources.

Mr Bose, who visited the restive area and spoke with the agitators on Monday, said in the report that the local people want constitution of a Special Task Force or Special Investigation Team to probe into their allegations.

“I have taken stock of the matter through direct interaction with the victims and by making extensive field visits in Sandeshkhali island. In my considered opinion, the situation there is highly reprehensible,” Mr Bose said in the report to the Union Home Ministry.

Besides torture and sexual harassment of women when men are away, other allegations heard by the governor include grabbing land for prawn cultivation and coercing villagers to withdraw complaints lodged by victims to the police, the sources said.

“From the interaction with the victims, it is evident that the competent authorities of the locality have failed to instil confidence among the harassed and affected villagers. The precarious situation where people are in a confusion as to ‘who are the offenders and who are the protectors’ does not augur well for a democratic society,” the report read.

The report named some of the followers of Shajahan Sheikh, who have allegedly been torturing the people of Sandeshkhali, according to the sources.

“The ghastly, shocking and shattering assault on the modesty, dignity and honour of women in large numbers by a small gang who display symptoms of anti-social personality disorder does not bring credit to anyone down the line in a democratic regime,” according to the report.

Sandeshkhali hit the headlines after Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials were attacked by a mob when they went to search the premises of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh on January 5. Sheikh has been absconding since then.

The governor also said in the report that the police, instead of registering complaints against the miscreants, direct locals to make compromises with them while “goonda elements disguised as policemen trespass into the victims’ houses at night”.

The villagers and affected parties feel that it is imperative that certain actions are taken by the competent authorities without fear or favour, he said.

The suggested actions include immediate arrest of the gang leaders and their henchmen, providing ex gratia assistance to victims, and transfer of all erring police officers.

“The lumpen elements in society are holding the civic life to ransom and indulging in nefarious activities affecting the honour and dignity of women. The rampant feeling among the victims that lawbreakers are in league with the law enforcement agencies militates against all norms of a civilized society,” the report said.

Later in the evening, the governor said, “This report is addressed to the people of Bengal. Based on the responses I have received, I will formulate my directives to the government and formally present my views to them.” Asked about whether he would visit state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, who was injured during a protest against alleged atrocities by TMC leaders in Sandeshkhali, Mr Bose said, “I will visit him tomorrow and will certainly visit anyone who is a victim of this violence.” Majumdar was injured as he fell on a car’s bonnet after being “pushed” by an unidentified woman while addressing a protest programme in Taki in North 24 Parganas district.

The BJP MP climbed atop the bonnet of an SUV, which had a police sticker pasted on its windscreen after police stopped him from proceeding to restive Sandeshkhali on Wednesday afternoon.

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

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