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Fresh protests rock parts of troubled Sandeshkhali

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NewsDrum Desk
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Sandeshkhali

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Kolkata: Fresh protests rocked parts of trouble-torn Sandeshkhali on Thursday afternoon as enraged locals took to the streets against local TMC leaders accused of sexual abuse of the women folk and forcible land grabbing in the area.

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Armed with sticks, they set ablaze a thatched structure near a pond, venting their fury against the elusive TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh and his brother Siraj. The torched structure, it was revealed, belonged to Siraj.

A protester said, "Siraj and his brother Shahjahan have usurped our land. They subjected us to molestation. We demand justice and the return of our land." In the wake of DGP Rajeev Kumar's visit, wherein he pledged swift action against wrongdoers, a substantial police force descended on the area with officers assuring to assist the locals and urging them to submit their grievances and documentation.

"Please bring forth your complaints; we will take immediate action. If you possess any relevant documents, present them to us. Rest assured, your land will be restored," a police officer was heard telling the residents.

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DGP Rajeev Kumar affirmed the police force's commitment to addressing the concerns of every individual in Sandeshkhali. He vowed stringent measures against those implicated in the mistreatment of women.

Kumar, who spent Wednesday night in Sandeshkhali to gauge the situation, promised resolute action against perpetrators of gender-based violence.

Amidst these developments, TMC leaders from North 24 Parganas district went to the Sandeshkhali village, offering reassurances of support.

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However, they faced the ire of the locals who questioned the prolonged inaction against Shahjahan and his associates.

"Why have you remained silent for so long? Why have Shahjahan Sheikh and his cohorts gone unchecked? We demand answers," resonated the voices of the impassioned residents.

In an attempt to mollify the gathering storm, the TMC representatives acknowledged past lapses while asserting the party's commitment to rectifying them.

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"Yes, mistakes have been made. However, the people of Sandeshkhali repose their complete trust in Mamata Banerjee. All grievances will be duly addressed," affirmed the TMC leader and Sandeshkhali MLA Sukumar Mahto, seeking to assuage the mounting discontent.

A large number of women in Sandeshkhali had accused Trinamool Congress strongman Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of "land-grab and sexually assaulting" them under coercion.

Shajahan has been absconding after a mob, allegedly affiliated to him, attacked Enforcement Directorate officials who had gone to search his premises in connection with a ration scam on January 5.

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