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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 April 2024

TMC delegation visits Sandeshkhali again, seeks time to address locals' grievances

The state ministers also urged villagers in restive Sandeshkhali to come up with their demands

PTI Sandeshkhali Published 25.02.24, 04:36 PM
TMC Minister Sujit Bose

TMC Minister Sujit Bose File photo

A TMC delegation visited the trouble-torn Sandeshkhali in West Bengal for the second consecutive day on Sunday and heard the grievances of villagers who have been protesting against alleged atrocities by local leaders of the ruling party.

The delegation, comprising state ministers Partha Bhowmick and Sujit Bose, visited Bermajur area, which witnessed violent protests recently, and sought one-and-half month from locals to address their grievances.

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The state ministers also urged villagers in restive Sandeshkhali to come up with their demands.

Bhowmick and Bose participated in a 'kirtan' (religious song) at a Radha Krishna temple and addressed a gathering there.

"Give us one-and-half month. We have promised that all the land grab incidents, which had been reported, will be verified. We cannot solve all the problems in one go. To address the issues, there are official procedures that need time to be completed," Bhowmik, the state irrigation minister, said.

He also said they were physically present at Sandeshkhali for the second day in a row to encourage everyone to come up with their grievances and claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is committed to "wipe tears of every resident of the area".

Bhowmick said he and Bose, the fire and emergency services minister, will visit the riverine belt regularly in the coming days and hold parleys with the villagers.

Asked about action against the local TMC leaders against whom the villagers, including women, have levelled allegations, he said, "We have already removed them from party posts and the police have initiated investigations." "We are here to hear from you. Don't consider us as outsiders," Bose told the gathering.

The ministers were accompanied by Sandeshkhali MLA Sukumar Mahato who also claimed that allegations of "improper activities by some leaders of the party were being expeditiously addressed with the involvement of police and administration".

The riverine Sandeshkhali area in North 24 Parganas district -- situated on the borders of the Sunderbans, about 100 kilometres from Kolkata -- has been on the boil for more than a month with protests against local TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan, who is absconding, and his supporters over allegations of land grabs and sexual abuse of locals.

Around 100 women in the locality protested against the visit of TMC ministers, holding posters 'Sujit Bose Go Back,' and demanded the arrest of the local TMC strongman Shahjahan.

"We don't have faith in such visits. These are photo sessions by leaders of TMC. What prevented them from visiting the area earlier when we faced sexual assault," Parul Dasi, one agitating woman with her face covered with clothes, said.

This was the fourth visit to Sandeshkhali by the ruling party leaders, amid protests by villagers against alleged land grab and sexual assault on women by the local TMC leader and his supporters.

"The opposition might try to fish in troubled waters but the people of the area have full faith in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee," Bose told reporters after visiting the area on Saturday.

The police have been patrolling the area to instil confidence among the villagers and maintain the law and order there.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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