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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 July 2024

Bengal: Bharatiya Janata Party central team stopped from visiting restive Sandeshkhali

The police did not allow the central team of BJP MPs to go to the unrest-hit Sandeshkhali, citing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC

PTI Calcutta Published 16.02.24, 12:40 PM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

A central team of BJP MPs, including two union ministers, was on Friday stopped from visiting West Bengal's Sandeshkhali, which has been rocked by protests over alleged atrocities on villagers by TMC leaders.

The police did not allow the BJP team to go to the unrest-hit Sandeshkhali, citing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC, Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik said.

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After being stopped at Rampur village on the way to Sandeshkhali block, the six-member delegation of the saffron party began a sit-in.

“The BJP central team was stopped by police from visiting unrest-hit Sandeshkhali. The police are citing prohibitory orders. We said only four of us would go, but we were not permitted,” Union Minister Annapurna Devi, who is the convenor of the team, told reporters.

Bhoumik, the union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, alleged that he police are "trying to protect the culprits".

"The police are very prompt in stopping us. We are union ministers and MPs, and there are certain protocols. The state police and the administration are not bothered about those protocols. Had the police shown similar promptness in arresting Shahjahan Sheikh, the situation would have been different,” Annapurna Devi said, echoing Bhoumik.

A large number of women in Sandeshkhali accused Trinamool Congress strongman Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of "land-grab and sexually assaulting" them under coercion.

Shajahan has been absconding after a mob, allegedly affiliated to him, attacked Enforcement Directorate officials who had gone to search his premises in connection with a ration scam on January 5.

Members of the BJP central team alleged that the law and order in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district was "non-existent".

BJP president J P Nadda has constituted the six-member committee of the party MPs to visit Sandeshkhali where women have been protesting against alleged atrocities by local TMC leaders.

Besides Bhoumik and Annapurna Devi, Sunita Duggal, Kavita Patidar, Sangeeta Yadav and Brij Lal, a former Uttar Pradesh DGP, are members of the panel.

Speaking on the BJP’s delegation being stopped, the ruling TMC accused the saffron party of trying to "vitiate the atmosphere of the state".

“The police did the right thing by stopping the BJP delegation. It intends to vitiate the atmosphere of the state. When the administration is doing everything to restore peace, the BJP is trying to disturb that for political gains,” TMC leader Santanu Sen said.

The central team, later in the day, will meet Governor C V Ananda Bose in Kolkata.

Protests continued unabated in Sandeshkhali for the seventh consecutive day on Thursday, with a notable presence of women demonstrators demanding the arrest of Shajahan Sheikh and his associates.

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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