« Back to articlePrint this article

Over 1,250 complaints lodged at govt camps in Sandeshkhali

February 24, 2024 19:46 IST

Over 1,250 complaints, including 400 related to land disputes, have been received at government camps in the restive Sandeshkhali region of West Bengal, where the administration is conducting a mass outreach programme to address grievances of locals, officials said.

IMAGE: Sandeshkhali women protest in North 24 Parganas. Photograph: ANI Photo

Sandeshkhali Block 2, the epicentre of the violent protests triggered by allegations of land encroachment and sexual misconduct involving local TMC leaders, has contributed the largest share of close to 1,000 complaints.

"Since February 18, when government assistance camps commenced operations, the collective tally of applications from Sandeshkhali and adjacent areas has surpassed 1,250, with the majority stemming from Sandeshkhali Block 2," a senior official of the Basirhat sub-division, which oversees Sandeshkhali, told PTI.

According to Arun Kumar Samanta, the BDO of Sandeshkhali Block 2, his office has received over 1,000 complaints.

"Of the total complaints, around 400 pertain to land matters, encompassing various issues such as unauthorised occupation and alterations in land titles. Additionally, we have received applications highlighting difficulties in accessing the state's welfare schemes," Samanta told PTI.


Meanwhile, officials from Sandeshkhali Block 1 have registered 250 complaints, with 14 relating to land disputes.

"So far, we have received 250 applications from locals about their grievances," Sandeshkhali BDO (Block 1), Sayantan Sen, said.

Detailing the nature of land-related grievances, the district official of Basirhat sub-division said, "Complaints range from forcible seizures to non-payment of leased land. We are meticulously scrutinising documents and collaborating with block-level authorities to address these concerns."

Sukumar Mahato, the local TMC MLA of Sandeshkhali, asserted that the dispensation has taken a proactive stance in resolving land disputes.

"We are mobilising resources both within the party and in the administration to swiftly redress land-related grievances. Additionally, efforts are underway to expedite the resolution of extortion allegations. Police are also looking into the allegations of sexual abuse and torture,” he told PTI.

The BJP, meanwhile, accused the TMC and local administration of complicity in crimes against women and exploitation of villagers.

Samik Bhattacharya, a BJP spokesperson, questioned the timing of TMC's response.

"Why did such atrocities occur under their watch? The Trinamool Congress and the local administration colluded in perpetrating violence against women," he claimed.

The situation remains tense in Sandeshkhali, as authorities endeavour to address the multifaceted challenges faced by the region.

The unrest in Sandeshkhali revolves around allegations levelled against TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters over land encroachment and sexual assault.

Sheikh has remained elusive since a mob attack on Enforcement Directorate officials on January 5.

© 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.