West Bengal: Section 144 reimposed around Sandeshkhali village

The West Bengal government have reimposed section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in and around 500 metres of area in seven-gram panchayats, including Sandeshkhali.

Sector 144 has been imposed in the area till February 19 to maintain law and order in view of the agitation by the BJP over allegations of sexual harassment by women in Sandeshkhali block.

Earlier, the removal of prohibitory orders that were imposed under Section 144 (CrPC) was removed by the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday.

The political storm over the events at Bengal’s Sandeshkhali sparked violence in another part of the state on Tuesday.

Clashes broke out between police personnel and BJP supporters on Tuesday after efforts were made to defy prohibitory orders clamped in the vicinity of the SP’s office in West Bengal’s Basirhat prior to the agitation of the party over allegations of sexual harassment of women in Sandeshkhali block.

BJP workers, led by the party’s state chief, Sukanta Majumdar, clashed with the police in Basirhat after being stopped from holding a protest.

Police personnel were seen charging party workers as the latter broke through barricades and entered the village. Scenes of chaos filled the village as the police resorted to lathi-charge to drive away the protesters.

After this, several workers and Sukanta Majumdar were detained but later released.

Women in Sandeshkhali have been agitating for the last few days over alleged atrocities committed against them by TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his aides.

After his release, the BJP state president alleged that the police ‘misbehaved’ with the women workers of the party.

“The police detained us and party workers… The police misbehaved even with the women workers of the party… We will take the police to the court… They treated us like thieves or criminals… The police do not obey the Constitution of the CrPC, they only listen to Mamata Banerjee…” he said.

Majumdar, earlier too alleged that Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers had been involved in the rape of women in Sandeshkhali for months.

“In Sandeshkhali, TMC workers have been raping women for months now – Sheikh Shahjahan, Shibu Hajra and Uttam Sardar are raping them. We had come to the SP peacefully with the demand to arrest them. If they do not arrest them in Sandeshkhali, how will the women in Sandeshkhali gain confidence?” Majumdar said.

Earlier, locals, particularly women, marched through various sections of Sandeshkhali, carrying slippers in their hands, demanding the arrest of TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh in an alleged land ration allotment scam and the alleged rape incidents.

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