Shahjahan, aides looted dignity, money, votes: Suvendu Adhikari in Sandeshkhali

Shailesh Khanduri
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Suvendu Adhikari in Sandeshkhali

Suvendu Adhikari in Sandeshkhali

Kolkata: West Bengal BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari visited restive Sandeshkhali on Tuesday and attacked Mamata Banerjee’s party leader Shahjahan Sheikh and his aides for looting dignity, money and votes.


Sheikh remains on the run even as the Calcutta High Court rebuked Mamata government for supporting him.

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday allowed Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly to visit the restive Sandeshkhali village, while observing that it is surprising that the main accused Shajahan Sheikh has not been arrested by the state police so far.

The division bench presided by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam refused to interfere into a single bench order that allowed Adhikari and another BJP MLA Shankar Ghosh to visit Sandeshkhali village panchayat area of Sandeshkhali Block II in North 24 Parganas district on Tuesday.


The riverine Sandeshkhali area, situated about 100 km from Kolkata on the borders of the Sunderbans, has been witnessing protests over allegations of sexual atrocities and land grab by some ruling TMC leaders.

"It is rather surprising that the person who is said to be the core for the problem being precipitated cannot be apprehended still and is on the run, defying law," the division bench said.

Stating that the court does not know whether he is being protected or not, it said that the fact is that he has not been secured.


"It could mean that the state police machinery doesn't have the wherewithal to secure him or (he) is outside the jurisdiction of the state police," the court observed during the hearing of an appeal by the state government challenging the single bench order, which also stayed until further orders the imposition of Section 144 in some areas of Sandeshkhali by the administration.

The division bench presided by Chief Justice Sivagnanam noted that a single bench of Justice Apurba Sinha Roy had on February 12 taken suo motu cognisance of allegations of sexual assault at gunpoint and forcible taking away tribal land.

The division bench said that the court can take judicial notice of the fact that the problem precipitated after the ED went to search the premises of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh, who headed the North 24 Parganas Zilla parishad, at Sandeshkhali on January 5.


It noted that the state police have not been able to apprehend Shajahan despite several cases having been registered against him over allegations that ED officers were brutally attacked when they went to conduct the search operations.

The court said that the establishment of redressal mechanisms over allegations of forcible taking away of land owned by villagers in Sandeshkhali by way of setting up camps by the state government, in itself prima facie shows that there has been land grabbing committed in the area.

"The allegation that the lands owned by the tribal villagers have been forcibly taken away in violation of the legal formalities stands prima facie established," the Chief Justice observed.


The bench said that while being unable to apprehend Shajahan, the imposition of Section 144 of CrPC cannot have any impact, observing that the administration was unnecessarily creating a tense situation.

The bench directed that notice be issued to the advocate general representing the state and that the additional solicitor general representing the Union of India be informed so that lawyers representing the ED and the CBI are present before the court on the appointed date of hearing of the suo motu matter on Monday next.

The West Bengal government on Tuesday moved an appeal before the division bench challenging Monday's order of Justice Kausik Chanda, who had also stayed until further order the prohibitory orders imposed on the assembly of five or more persons imposed in Sandeshkhali by the administration under Section 144 of CrPC.


The division bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, directed the BJP leader to ensure that none of the supporters or people belonging to the party accompany them, except security personnel, who have been deployed for them.

The division bench directed the superintendent of police, Basirhat, and the West Bengal government to comply with the orders issued by the single bench.

Justice Chanda on Monday directed the state to deploy adequate number of security personnel to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during Adhikari's visit to Sandeshkhali village in Sandeshkhali block II in North 24 Parganas district.

He had also directed the superintendent of police, Basirhat, to file a report before the court on the next date of hearing regarding the number of registered criminal cases relating to rape and sexual assault within the jurisdiction of Sandeshkhali police station from February one, 2024 till the present date. PTI AMR RG