Sandeshkhali: Fresh stir, locals attack TMC leader

The Asian Age.  | Rajib Chowdhuri

India, Crime

The women were at the forefront of the second round of protests on Friday

BJP MP Locket Chatterjee with other BJP Mahila Morcha members talks to the media while heading towards Sandeshkhali, in Kolkata, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Kolkata: Fresh violence erupted at Sandeshkhali in the North 24 Parganas of West Bengal on Friday. In the morning, an armed group of villagers vandalised and torched the houses and properties of Trinamul Congress leaders Sirajuddin Sheikh and his aide Ajit Maity at Jhupkhali and Bermojur to vent their anger on them for tormenting them and grabbing their lands earlier. 

Ajit, who was at home during the mob attack, was also beaten up. He fled later. Sirajuddin is the brother of absconding TMC strongman Shahjahan Sheikh. The police rushed to the spot and detained five male villagers for triggering the unrest. Locals, however, alleged that the detention, including that of a student who is appearing in the ongoing higher secondary examination, is illegal. 

An accident in which a woman, Fulmoni Bhuiyan, was injured after she was hit by a speeding police vehicle carrying the suspects added fuel to the fire and triggered another round of protests. The villager suffered leg injuries and was treated at Sundarban Sramajibi Hospital. She alleged that the police vehicle hit her intentionally. 

The women were at the forefront of the second round of protests on Friday. Carrying a broom, one of them, with her face covered, said, “It's our battle and we will fight it out.”

Some women were seen lying on the road to block the way of another police vehicle. Others put up resistance by digging up roads. Wood logs were placed and set on fire to cut off movements. 

State director-general of police Rajeev Kumar, accompanied by additional DGP (South Bengal) Supratim Sarkar, later visited the spot. Mr Kumar said, “All of us have to establish the rule of law. We will do that. But doing so does not mean that I will do injustice to another because injustice happened to me.”

He added: “There are some people who do not want normalcy. We understand where a fire breaks out and where a house is deliberately torched. We will take strong action against those who will break the law."

The latest unrest unfolded on the day an NHRC team inspected the strife-torn areas.