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Stay on Mamata’s aide Shahjahan Sheikh’s arrest cancelled; TMC leader Ajit Maity, whom locals thrashed with slippers, arrested: Latest in Sandeskhali case

Reprimanding the West Bengal authorities for their alleged inaction regarding the allegations, noting that the incidents were reported four years ago, the court said that the absconding TMC leader should be arrested.

Sandeshkhali in West Bengal’s 24 Pargana (North) has been on the boil for a couple of weeks. It grabbed media attention after a mob of Shahjahan Sheikh supporters brutally attacked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on January 5, when the latter went to conduct a raid at the TMC leader’s house as part of an investigation into the ration scam. The tension escalated when several locals, especially women, took to the streets to protest against the rampant incidents of sexual assault and land grabbing being carried out by absconding TMC leader and Mamata Banerjee’s close aide Shahjahan Sheikh and his goons.

Calcutta HC rebukes WB authorities, cancels stay on Shahjahan Sheikh’s arrest

In the latest development, the Calcutta High Court on Monday cancelled the stay on the arrest of TMC leader and Sandeshkhali villain Shahjahan Sheikh.

Reprimanding the West Bengal authorities for their alleged inaction regarding the allegations, noting that the incidents were reported four years ago, the court said that the absconding TMC leader should be arrested.

“It is surprising to note that incidents in the area were reported to state police four years ago and that it has taken four years for the cases to mature into 42 chargesheets”, the High Court said.

The court further asserted, “A wrong impression has been created as if an interim order of stay of arrest has been given. There is nothing on record to say that such a stay is in place. Therefore he should be arrested.”

The court also asked officials to issue a public notice in newspapers informing that legal actions had been initiated against Shahjahan Sheikh.

Locals ransack TMC panchayat leader Shankar Sardar’s house

On Monday, fresh protests broke out in several areas of West Bengal’s troubled Sandeshkhali, after locals ransacked the properties of TMC leaders, accused of tormenting the villagers for a very long time.

According to a senior police official, angry residents of Sandeshkhali’s Bermajur area attacked a few houses with sticks to vent their resentment towards Shankar Sardar, the local TMC panchayat head, accused of land grabbing.

The angry women protestors told the media that Shankar Sardar forcefully acquires their land and houses. “He snatches away our Aadhar cards and other documents and takes away our land and property. We want him arrested,” a woman protestor said.

Reportedly, Shankar was not at home at the time of the attack but his family members were beaten up by the villagers.

However, Shankar’s family denied the charge.

TMC leader Ajit Maity, whom Sandeshkhali locals thrashed with slippers, arrested

In another important development, Ajit Maity, a TMC leader and a close aide of absconding Shahjahan Sheiks, was arrested following massive protests against him by women in trouble-torn Sandeshkhali. It may be recalled that on Friday, February 23, visuals emerged of angry Sandeshkhali villagers, including women breaking through fences; and physically heckling and thrashing Ajit Maity. The women were seen using slippers to beat the TMC leader. Prior to this, the protestors had also ransacked the TMC leader’s house.

Amusingly, after the beating the TMC leader, who is accused of being involved in land grabbing and extortion, locked himself up in someone else’s house. Despite the owner asking him to leave Maity did not come out for the next four hours.

Villagers in Bermajur also tried to prevent police vehicles from passing through the area. A woman protester told news agency ANI, “We did not stop them initially. We just wanted to talk to them about why they were detaining our boys without any charge. They did not listen. The police vehicle ran over a woman’s feet. We want to talk to them.”

On February 25, following the massive protest by locals demanding his arrest, the Trinamool Congress removed Ajit Maity from his post of party’s Anchal President. Pertinent to note that Maity is a TMC MLA from Paschim Medinipur’s Pingla Assembly constituency. Maity’s removal from the post was also confirmed by West Bengal Minister Partha Bhowmick who is on a visit to violence-hit Sandeshkhali.

West Bengal police, in a damage control mode, free playground grabbed by TMC strongman Sheikh Shahjahan

Notably, only three days ago reports emerged on how TMC strongman Sheikh Shahjahan had grabbed an entire playground for two years, preventing the local youths from playing in the public ground. Sheikh Shahjahan and his goons had illegally occupied the Rishi Aurobindo Mission ground in the area, constructed a wall around it preventing entry of people by locking the gate, and hosted sports tournaments on it. However, as the protests led by women against the TMC goons intensified in Sandeshkhali, the ground was freed, in a damage control move by the government.

The lock was broken and Sheikh Shahjahan’s name was removed from the gate and the wall built around the encroachment before returning the parcel of land to the locals after a long time.

The residents of the hamlet were furious with the illegal confiscation but couldn’t protest out of fear as they were intimidated and assaulted otherwise. As a result, they were forced to endure everything in silence.

Sandeshkhali protest

On 8th February this year, hundreds of women in Sandeshkhali took to the streets to protest against land grabbing, non-payment of wages and sexual violence committed by Trinamool Congress goon Sheikh Shahjahan and his two aides Shiba Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar.

The women attacked his illicitly obtained properties and set fire to a poultry farm owned by TMC leader Shiba Prasad Hazra. They also surrounded the Sandeshkali police station and demanded the immediate arrest of the trio. The agitation in the village lasted for 3 days. On 17th February, the police arrested Shibu Prasad Hazra over land grabbing and sexual exploitation of women in Sandeshkhali. The primary accused Sheikh Shahjahan is still on the run from the law enforcement authorities.

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