Unrest in Sandeshkhali following arrest of 4 in TMC MLA heckle case

Unrest in Sandeshkhali following arrest of 4 in TMC MLA heckle case

Barasat (WB) | A group of people in Sandeshkhali on Monday staged a road blockade by setting tyres on fire objecting to the arrest of four women, known as BJP workers, for allegedly heckling TMC leaders including an MLA in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali.

They also protested against purported videos circulated "to malign the image" of saffron party leaders.

A huge number of policemen, including RAF, were deployed at Berhmajur in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district in the evening, who restored to lathi-charge to disperse the gathering.

Local women alleged that they were manhandled by the police personnel and demanded immediate release of the four arrested people.

"Police have arrested four women from Sandeshkhali because they protested against the atrocities of the TMC. We are not going to tolerate this. Why is the police not arresting those who are spreading fake videos," one resident said.

"People cannot take the law into their own hands and we will not allow that. We will not let people disrupt law and order here. We have detained a few people today... Our officers are talking to them," the police officer told PTI.

A senior police officer of Basirhat Police District also reached the place to take stock of the situation there.

The arrested women were sent to four days of police custody by a local court on Monday, an officer said.

On Sunday, BJP workers demonstrated against the circulation of purported videos "to malign the image" of saffron party leaders in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali, and allegedly heckled the local TMC legislator for spreading "misinformation" over complaints of sexual abuse, lodged by women in the area.

They also beat up a local TMC activist in Sandeshkhali for allegedly being involved in "disseminating false information about atrocities on women" in the area.

An FIR was lodged in connection with the incident prompting the police to arrest four people for their alleged involvement.

A series of purported videos surfaced recently from Sandeshkhali where TMC leaders were accused of sexual assault and land grab.

In the first such clip, a BJP leader of Sandeshkhali was heard saying that the protests by women were "staged" at the behest of Leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, who was behind the "whole conspiracy".

In another video, a section of the women, who had earlier filed rape complaints, claimed that they were made to sign a blank paper by the BJP leaders and coerced to go to the police station.

The BJP leader who was seen in the first video was also heard saying in a third clip that over 70 women had received Rs 2,000 each for taking part in protests against local TMC leaders.

PTI did not verify the authenticity of the videos.

BJP leader writes to CBI seeking security for 'victims of sexual abuse' in Sandeshkhali

Sandeshkhali (WB) | BJP leader Priyanka Tibrewal has urged the CBI to address security concerns of alleged victims of sexual abuse by TMC leaders in Sandeshkhali.

She wrote a letter to the central agency in the wake of BJP protests in the trouble-torn area in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district.

Tibrewal, the state unit secretary of BJP and one of the prominent faces in the saffron party's legal team, alleged in the recent letter that the local TMC-run panchayat was threatening and intimidating "victims of sexual violence" to withdraw complaints of sexual harassment against local TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters but the "police were not coming to their support".

Tibrewal said that as an advocate, she had been permitted to record witness accounts of the victims by the Calcutta High Court on February 26, and the court directed the CBI to record statements of the victims and asked the state police to set up CCTV cameras in "sensitive pockets" of the area.

However, while no CCTV cameras were set up, the women were facing intimidation and threats to take back their complaints, she alleged.

She also advocated the prompt deployment of central paramilitary forces in the area to stop the "threat and intimidation" of Sandeshkhali victims. A copy of her mail to CBI was made available to PTI on Monday.

BJP protesters, mostly women, had on Sunday beat up a local TMC activist during their demonstration over "dissemination of false information about atrocities on women".

Riverine Sandeshkhali, located around 100 km from Kolkata, has been on the boil since February, with protests over allegations of sexual abuse and land grabbing against now arrested TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters.

Multiple purported videos recently surfaced on social media that claimed that a local BJP party leader made several women of Sandeshkhali sign blank papers, which were later filled up as complaints of sexual assault against TMC leaders, and that women were paid money to participate in the protests.

PTI could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos.

The TMC has accused BJP, including Tibrewal, of building a false narrative over Sandeshkhali to malign the party and West Bengal.

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