All three major forces in the Bengal Opposition were seen on the same page on Sunday, taking to the streets and issuing bellicose statements to politically corner Trinamul over the two arrests in Sandeshkhali.
The BJP and the CPM led separate demonstrations, triggered by Sunday's arrests of local BJP leader Bikash Sinha and former CPM MLA Nirapada Sardar, for their alleged role in inciting last week's protests in Sandeshkhali "against Trinamul goons".
The arrests were made based on a complaint filed by local Trinamul leader Shibu Hazra, whose home was attacked and poultry farm set on fire by a mob on Saturday.
CPM supporters assembled outside the Bansdroni police station, protesting Sardar's arrest.
“He was arrested from his home without any information to his family,” alleged Sardar’s lawyer Firdaus Shamim.
Over the past few days, Sardar had been asserting that Trinamul strongman Sheikh Shahjahan — who allegedly masterminded the assault on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers in January when they went to his village Sarberia to probe into the alleged ration scam — was in Sandeshkhali and not absconding. Sardar had criticised the police for not arresting him.
“Our state committee member Nirapada Sardar, the former MLA of Sandeshkhali, was arrested…. Police are trying to protect criminals and arrest the innocent. We want unconditional release of Sardar and all those wrongly arrested,” said CPM state secretary Md Salim.
CPM leaders, including youth leader Minakshi Mukherjee, faced "police hurdles" in trying to enter Sandeshkhali.
“Our leaders were prevented from entering Sandeshkhali by the police. This is not the first time. We are not intimidated,” said Salim, adding they would "proceed sooner or later".
BJP supporters staged demonstrations outside various police stations across the state against Sinha's arrest. Nandigram MLA Suvendu Adhikari led a rally in his constituency against this “attack on democracy”.
“This is horrible. The police are following criminals' orders. What happened in Sandeshkhali is an expression of people's anger and the police are trying to suppress it,” claimed Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar.
The Congress also criticised the role of the police in Sandeshkhali.
“This is simply unacceptable. Democracy is being brutally butchered in Bengal. Police are arresting the innocent. Criminals with the patronage of the ruling dispensation are happily going about their business,” said Congress spokesperson Soumya Aich Roy.