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'Sandeshkhali incident was made to happen': Mamata slams BJP

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
February 18, 2024 21:30 IST
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said that "an incident was made to happen" in Sandeshkhali and blamed it on the Bharatiya Janata Party for having it scripted along with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the media.

IMAGE: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting in Birbhum. Photograph: ANI Photo

Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, also said that not a single woman in Sandeshkhali has lodged any FIR and it was she who had directed the police to initiate a suo motu case in this connection.

Since the first week of February, villages in Sandeshkhali area in North 24 district have witnessed protests over allegations of sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing by TMC leaders.

"An incident has happened (in Sandeshkhali). It was made to happen. First, they (BJP) sent the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and then ED's friend, the BJP entered Sandeshkhali along with some media which started creating hullabaloo,” Banerjee said.

The BJP is trying to create disturbance in West Bengal, the chief minister alleged while speaking at a public distribution programme organised by the state government at Suri in Birbhum district.

"Not a single woman (from Sandeshkhali) has lodged any FIR. It was me who directed the police to lodge a suo motu case. Our block president has been arrested," she said.


The TMC supremo attacked the BJP, questioning whether the party has taken any action against any of its tainted leaders.

The police have so far arrested 18 people including local TMC leader Shibaprasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar in connection with the incidents of violence at Sandeshkhali.

They have also added sections of 'gangrape' and 'attempted murder' against three of the prime accused, one of whom is still absconding.

The sections were added after a victim woman recorded her statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC.

Banerjee said that she would be sending her officers to Sandeshkhali who would talk to the locals there to find out if the complaints were genuine.

"In Bengal, if people are tortured, we take action. I am sending officers who will listen to the people and if it is found that someone has taken things from them, they will get back everything. It's my promise," the chief minister said.

Referring to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) under which several TMC leaders including former ministers were arrested, Banerjee claimed that they were put behind bars to help the BJP win elections.

"There is one PMLA... You can have complaints against anyone and for that purpose, you collect evidence, talk to witnesses, prepare a chargesheet, and let the judiciary function in its own way. But keeping someone in jail year after year without any proof... you think of winning the election in this manner," she said.

Referring to the Emergency period of 1975-77, Banerjee stated that even prime minister Indira Gandhi could not win the election after putting over 2,000 people in jail.

"Today also, if someone thinks the same thing by threatening people, using the CBI, ED and Election Commission and putting people in jail, I would say that we also have the right to oppose that," she opined.

Stating that four children died after being buried by earth in a BSF trench at Chopra in Uttar Dinajpur district recently, the TMC boss asked the BJP how many teams were sent there.

She asked: "How many teams were sent when Dalits and SC-ST people were tortured? How many teams were sent after the Bilkis Banu case?"

Her questions came after the National Commission for Women and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes visited Sandeshkhali. The BJP, the Congress and Left parties also tried to reach the area but were stopped by the police.

Banerjee also referred to the ongoing agitation of the farmers in Haryana, Punjab demanding the government's guarantee on MSP, Banerjee said that cultivators in Bengal do not face any problem.

"I salute farmers' protest. I condemn the attacks on them. In Bengal, farmers are our 'annadatas' who provide us with food. But look at the way they are being treated by them (BJP). Look at how Punjab, Delhi, and Haryana are burning. I sympathise with our farmers," she said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© 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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