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Sandeshkhali Ripples Spread, BJP Protesters Clash With Police In Bengal’s Basirhat

  • February 13, 2024

Sandeshkhali Ripples Spread, BJP Protesters Clash With Police In Bengal's Basirhat

Kolkata:

The political storm over the events at Bengal’s Sandeshkhali sparked violence in another part of the state on Tuesday. BJP workers, led by the party’s state chief Sukanta Majumdar, clashed with the police in Basirhat after being stopped from holding a protest. The police said the protesters threw stones at them and there is video footage to identify those involved. Several policemen have been injured in the violence.

Mr Majumdar had taken a local train in the morning, anticipating police blockades to prevent him from reaching Basirhat, an area in the same north 24 Parganas district, where prohibitory orders banning large gatherings is in place.

As the police lathicharged the protesters and fired tear gas shells to disperse them, they retaliated with stones. The clash took place outside the office of the local Superintendent of Police.

Sukanta Majumdar claimed it was the police who used batons first, without provocation.  “First, the police launched a lathicharge, it then pelted stones and later tear gas shells were used on our workers. Then, our workers were arrested,” he said.

Trinamool workers have been raping women in Sandeshkhali for years now, he alleged, naming Sheikh Shahjahan, Shibu Hajra and Uttam Sardar in this context.

“We had come to the SP with the demand to arrest them… We also demand that our arrested workers will have to be released. If this is not done, we will sit here all through the night,” he said, starting a sit-in protest at the spot.

Senior police officer Sumit Kumar said there was stone pelting and they used batons and tear gas “to save our lives and other people’s lives”. The police, he said, has made some arrests.

The Sandeshkhali incident, where a group of women have accused a local Trinamool strongman, Sheikh Shahjahan and his aides of sexually exploiting them, has led to a massive political storm.  

The Trinamool has hit out at the BJP, accusing it of provoking violence.
“BJP leaders displayed their true colours by pelting stones at the police at the behest of Union Minister Smriti Irani, who spread misinformation and dished out provocative and divisive comments on Sandeshkhali a day earlier,” the Trinamool said.

BJP workers and supporters threw stones at the police personnel. One woman has been seriously injured, the Trinamool said.

“How can these people talk about women’s security and atrocities? Yesterday, Smriti Irani termed that the atrocities that occur on women are based on religion. But the actions of her party workers today reflect BJP’s true character,” the party added (IN A STATEMENT?).

Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said Sandeshkhali is now totally peaceful and the situation is under control. A Trinamool team also visited the area.

The party has also accused the Left Front of creating fresh provocation along with the BJP.  Trinamool leader Partha Bhowmick said Sandeshkhali is a CPMs bastion and Trinamool has never won in the area.

“Out of 14 anchals in the area, violence was orchestrated in one. This isolated incident is being used to propagate that violence is being witnessed in all of Sandeshkhali,” Mr Bhowmick has said.

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