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regular-article-logo Friday, 12 April 2024

Brinda Karat meets women of Sandeshkhali, lambasts Trinamul Congress and Mamata Banerjee

BJP supporters slogans decried Mamata, CPM supporters shouted slogans against TMC and its government but reminded BJP about Hathras and Unnao incidents

Snehamoy Chakraborty, Avijit Sinha Calcutta/Siliguri Published 21.02.24, 10:22 AM
Brinda Karat at Dhamakhali in North 24-Parganas on Tuesday

Brinda Karat at Dhamakhali in North 24-Parganas on Tuesday Biswarup Dutta

CPM politburo member Brinda Karat, along with some other members of the party, lambasted the Trinamul government of the state and chief minister Mamata Banerjee over the alleged atrocities on women in Sandeshkhali on Tuesday, while equating it with heinous crimes committed against women in Hathras and Unnao in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.

“We were stopped here today in the same manner as we were stopped in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh. The (national) women’s commission was here but it didn’t go to Manipur or Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, where women faced severe atrocities. It is surprising that here too, the state government is acting so blatantly, instead of listening to the women who are complaining of atrocities,” said Brinda, as she was stopped with other women CPM leaders by the police at Dhamakhali.

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Brinda, along with others, stood at a stone’s throw from where Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of Opposition in the Assembly, squatted with BJP MLA Shankar Ghosh and other party colleagues, as the police stopped them as well, citing prohibitory orders.

“A woman police officer told us that if we go to Sandeshkhali, there will be a breach of peace. Breach of peace happened when the women of Sandeshkhali were summoned to the Trinamul party office and sexually assaulted,” said the CPM politburo member.

After Brinda, who reached Dhamakhali at around 10.30pm ahead of the BJP leaders, was stopped at the jetty when she expressed her determination to head towards Sandeshkhali, a heated exchange ensued between the cops and CPM leaders.

By then, Adhikari and his team had reached the spot and added to the chaos. As the two separate teams of politicians stood in the vicinity of each other, their supporters tried to put pressure on the police by raising slogans.

While BJP supporters slogans decried Mamata for the Sandeshkhali episode, the CPM supporters shouted slogans against Trinamul and its government but reminded the BJP about Hathras and Unnao incidents in the BJP-ruled state.

The police lifted the barricades for Opposition leaders after Calcutta High Court allowed Adhikari to head to Sandeshkhali. Brinda was allowed to go to Sandeshkhali around 2pm, much after Adhikari and Ghosh.

At Sandeshkhali, villagers came out to narrate their woes to Brinda, who was accompanied by AIDWA state chief Kaninika Ghosh and other party leaders.

As several woman villagers broke down while talking to the delegation, Brinda comforted them: "We will ensure you get justice."

The AIDWA team also visited the homes of villagers vandalised in "retaliatory" violence allegedly by cops and Trinamul goons.

Earlier, on February 11, when CPM cadres led by party youth wing state secretary Minakshi Mukherjee had tried to enter Sandeshkhali, they were stopped and engaged in a scuffle with the police. That day, Nirapada Sarkar, the former Sandeshkhali CPM MLA, was arrested.

On President’s rule in Bengal — NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma recommended it on Monday — Brinda differed.

“President’s rule is BJP’s rule. When people are building resistance against the government, President’s rule is not the alternative,” she said.

She criticised Mamata's attitude: “Being a woman chief minister, she didn’t listen to women's complaints, labelling them a conspiracy. She didn’t even order a judicial probe.”

On Sheikh Shahjahan, she alleged the Sandeshkhali Trinamul strongman has been kept under protection. “Or else, he will spill the beans,” she said.

"Where was she (Brinda) when women were tortured and killed during the 34-year-old Left regime?" asked Trinamul leader and spokesperson Kunal Ghosh. "Today, she is going to Sandeshkhali for no reason...."

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