Bengal police assure Sandeshkhali women of safety, security

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Kolkata, Feb 12 (PTI) West Bengal Police has received only four complaints from people in violence-hit Sandeshkhali, but none of them mentioned rape or sexual harassment, a senior officer said on Monday.


Stating that a 10-member team under a DIG-rank woman officer was constituted to investigate incidents of violence there, the officer assured the women of total safety and urged them to approach police in if they wanted to file complaints.

The IPS officer emphasised that they had received four complaints, none of which mentioned rape or any communal angle.

"We have received four complaints and none of them mentioned rape or any communal angle. This is very important," the officer added.


He added that an SP-rank woman officer had already visited houses and talked to women.

"The state government has formed a 10-member team headed by a DIG-rank woman officer. The team will initiate a probe. If there is any complaint, they (the women) must come to police. Their complaints will be looked into," the officer said.

"The state is very concerned about the issue. I will request women to approach police if they have any issues or complaints and we will take strong legal actions," he said.


Earlier in the day, a West Bengal Women's Commission team visited the "troubled spots" in Sandeshkhali and spoke to women in the area who have alleged sexual harassment by absconding TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters.

Commission chairperson Leena Gangopadhyay and another member interacted with several women in Sandeshkhali.

"I have personally spoken to them and taken note of the complaints. Now, we will be cross-checking their allegations. I have asked police to submit a report on this," Gangopadhyay told PTI.


A large number of women in Sandeshkhali have claimed that Shajahan and his "gang" captured swathes of land by force, besides "sexually harassing" them.

They demanded the immediate arrest of Shajahan, who has been absconding since last month after a team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that went to raid his house in connection with an alleged ration scam was attacked by a mob.

The National Commission for Women has also sent a letter to the West Bengal government, seeking a report over the allegations in Sandeshkhali within 48 hours.

According to a senior official at the state secretariat, the NCW in its letter has stated that there were serious allegations against Shajahan and his supporters about "sexually abusing" women in Sandeshkhali. PTI SCH MNB