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Sandeshkhali: “Criminals have joined hands with West Bengal govt,” says National Commission for Scheduled Castes, recommends President’s rule in state

Under Article 338 of the Constitution, the NCSC is dutibound to present to the President reports on the working of the constitutional safeguards of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) annually and at other times.

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Friday (16h February) after its visit to Sandeshkhali in West Bengal submitted a report recommending the President’s rule in the state citing complete lawlessness.

The report was submitted to President Droupadi Murmu. NCSC Chairperson Arun Halder also met with the President. He said, “We have recommended that President’s rule be imposed in West Bengal over the situation there under Article 338 that aims to safeguard the rights of Scheduled Castes.”

Halder said the President had assured the NCSC team that she would look into the matter and take action. The NCSC team was also allegedly misbehaved with by several police officials when it tried to enter Sandeskhali to meet with victims of sexual assault.

Halder said, “Criminals in the state have joined hands with the government there.”

On 8th February, the women of Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal hit the streets demanding the arrest of absconding TMC leader and Mamata Banerjee’s close aides Sheikh Shahjahan and two other TMC workers Shiba Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar, believed to be close to Shahjahan.

The women alleged that the accused forcefully grabbed lands of the poor in the region and sexually assaulted women “night after night and release them only when they are satisfied”. The accused also forced the villagers to provide free labour in the business run by them.

“We have recommended that President’s rule should be imposed in West Bengal over the situation there under Article 338 that aims to safeguard rights of SCs,” the NCSC cheif said.

Under Article 338 of the Constitution, the NCSC is dutibound to present to the President reports on the working of the constitutional safeguards of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) annually and at other times.

Halder added that the violence in Sandeshkhali is impacting the people from the Scheduled Caste communities noting that West Bengal has the second highest population of SCs in the country.

Moreover, the Commission has also sent a notice to the TMC government in Bengal ordering them to take immediate action against the absconding accused.

“The state is suppose to protect them (SCs) but that is not happening and they are in fact suffering under the state government rule,” he said.

A BJP central team also visited Sandeshkhali on Friday and a Congress delegation is due to visit today (Saturday).

The 6-member BJP delegation constituted by the party national president, JP Nadda, to visit Sandeshkhali was stopped by the police in West Bengal on Friday.

The team included party leaders Annapurna Devi, Pratima Bhowmik, Sunita Duggal, Kavita Patidar, Sangeeta Yadav and Brij Lal. BJP leader Agnimitra Paul is accompanying the delegation to Sandeshkhali.

Meanwhile, the Privileges Committee of the Lok Sabha had summoned top police officers of West Bengal on the complaint filed by BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar.

The Privileges Committee on Thursday directed the top police officials of West Bengal to appear before them over a complaint from the BJP state chief on February 19.

(With agency inputs)

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