Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 20 April 2024 9.34 AM IST

Sandeshkhali gangrapes' shocks nation; horrendous truths from Bengal


On February 8th, the village of Sandeshkhali erupted in outrage as the women folks decided to storm into the poultry farm owned by TMC honcho Sheikh Shahjahan, who is also a close aide of CM Mamata Banerjee. The women swelled the streets brandishing sticks and brooms as a sign of protest. Minding the escalating tension, CM Mamata Banerjee imposed Section 144 in Sandeshkhali and 16 panchayats the internet was disrupted.

TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan is no novice to controversies. When the ED officials were attacked in North 24 Parganas district on January 5, fingers pointed at Shahjahan for masterminding the attack. Making the best use of his close affiliation with CM Mamata, Shahjahan commanded full sway over matters in Sandeshkhali that made nobody dare move a finger at him. However, the February 8th incident broke the long-followed norms of the village.

According to villagers, the poultry farm owned by Shahjahan has tormented many lives for years. The villagers were forced to work for free on the farmland while it is alleged that Shahjahan usurped acres of public land from villagers at a whim. The most gruelling ordeal would be for the women to bear as Shahjahan’s associates would ruthlessly take them to the farmland with brute force, sometimes even in front of their family members and molest them. No police or law would touch anyone associated with Shahjahan and this forced the gang to commit more ruthless crimes with sheer impunity.

According to one villager who opened up about her misery to national media, “TMC cadres would arrive in the bike at night. There will be 20-30 of them. They will then pick the most beautiful girl from the village and molest her for days on the poultry farm. They will only allow her to leave when all members are satisfied enough.”

Meanwhile, it is alleged that the police have arrested many villagers instead of the Shahjahan, who is still at large. Many relatives of victims who complained about Shahjahan’s misdemeanours have also been arrested. In another appalling case, the police are now asking victims for medical proof of rape to confirm the grotesque incident. Many of the victims are married women, so any medical report will prove to be inconsequential.

Villagers are now demanding central government protection as they fear Shahjahan’s men to retaliate against them for raising their voices and speaking out the horrendous truths of Bengal. The opposition on the other hand is conducting protests in the area and the situation continues to remain tense.

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