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How did Sahajahan Sheikh rise to prominence in TMC?

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
January 06, 2024 02:10 IST
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Following the assault on Enforcement Directorate officials during a raid in a remote West Bengal village on Friday, all eyes are now on Sahajahan Sheikh, popularly known as 'bhai,' who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the attack.

IMAGE: Security personnel inspect a vehicle of the Enforcement Directorate team which was attacked by mob, in West Bengal, January 5, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The brutal attack on ED officers has ignited a political firestorm.


The Opposition is demanding President's Rule, while Governor CV Ananda Bose has urged the state government to quell "barbarism," emphasising that Bengal is not a banana republic.

The incident transpired as ED officers conducted a raid on the residence of TMC leader Sheikh, linked to an investigation into a ration distribution scam. Supporters of Sheikh launched attacks during the operation, resulting in significant damage to both officers and their vehicles.

The 42-year-old Sheikh, who started as a small-time worker in the fisheries of the Sandeshkhali block in North 24 Parganas near the Bangladesh border, rose to become the uncrowned king of the state's fisheries belt.

The eldest of four siblings, Sheikh began as a worker in fisheries and brick kilns in Sandeshkhali.

In 2004, he entered politics as a union leader in brick kilns.

He later joined the local Communist Party of India-Marxist unit, maintaining his presence despite the changing political landscape in West Bengal.

Known for fiery speeches and organisational skills, Sheikh caught the attention of TMC leadership in 2012.

Under the stewardship of the then TMC national general secretary Mukul Roy and North 24 Parganas TMC district president Jyotipriyo Mullick, he joined the party and quickly ascended in power, becoming a close associate of Mullick.

Since then, his trajectory in the corridors of power has been unstoppable, raising eyebrows with his rapid ascent akin to a rocket.

In 2018, Sheikh gained prominence as the deputy head of the Sarberiya Agarhati gram panchayat.

Currently serving as the president of the Sandeshkhali TMC unit, his political trajectory peaked when he secured a zilla parishad seat last year.

Sheikh, known as 'Matsa Karmadhakshya' (in-charge of fisheries) for North 24 Parganas, he oversees the district's fishery development, reflecting his influential standing in both political and economic spheres.

In addition to his political roles, Sheikh is a go-to figure for conflict resolution in the area, mediating family disputes and land disagreements.

His younger brothers are active TMC workers managing his business, including land dealings.

Described by locals as both a messiah and a terror, Sheikh, also known as 'bhai,' commands respect and fear in the region.

According to leaders from the local TMC and Opposition, Sheikh commands both respect and fear in the region.

"To some, he is a messiah; to his detractors, he is a terror. He carries a Robin Hood image in the area and is affectionately known as 'Bhai' among his supporters," said a local TMC leader.

Despite involvement in criminal cases, he has played a key role in curbing child trafficking, earning recognition for his efforts in making Sarberia Agarhati gram panchayat a 'Child-Friendly Gram Panchayat' in 2019.

In the aftermath of the violent clashes between BJP and TMC workers in Sandeshkhali post-Lok Sabha polls in June 2019, resulting in deaths on both sides, Sheikh found himself implicated in a murder FIR filed in connection with the incident.

Sheikh's journey from a humble worker in the fisheries of North 24 Parganas to a prominent political figure is marked by controversy and influence.

The current events highlight the complex interplay of power, politics, and controversies associated with Sheikh's role in the fisheries belt of Bengal.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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