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West Bengal: Violent protest in Sandeshkhali demanding arrest of absconding TMC leader

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Violent protest in Sandeshkhali

Barasat: People agitated in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas on Friday, demanding the arrest of absconding TMC leader Sheikh Shajahan and his aides.

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With sticks and brooms in their hands, locals took out processions in different areas of Sandeshkhali since morning. Later, Shajahan's aide Shiboprasad Hazra's house was vandalised and some furniture was torched, police said.

A poultry farm in Zeliakhali belonging to Hazra was also set ablaze, they said.

Superintendent of Police Hossain Mehedi Rahaman said forces were sent to the area and working to tackle the situation.

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He said a complaint was lodged by the villagers against Shajahan and his aides on Thursday, and it was being looked into.

Searches were on for them, the SP said.

Shajahan went missing last month after a team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that went to raid his house in the alleged ration scam was attacked by a mob.

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Locals alleged that Shajahan and his "gang" captured swathes of land by force, besides torturing people during their "reign".

Meanwhile, Shajahan's supporters also took to the streets, and police said they were trying to prevent a clash.

The TMC claimed that the BJP and CPI(M) were inciting the people to foment unrest in the area.

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"There could have been discontentment against one or two TMC leaders in the area. The conspirators took advantage of that to foment trouble. It is an isolated incident, and people's grievances will be addressed," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.

BJP said the incident was an outcome of pent-up rage among the people.

"The incident in Sandeshkhali is a trailer of things to come. The TMC regime will not last for many days," BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya claimed.

CPI(M) leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya said the "illegal occupation" of hundreds of acres of land and police inaction led to the public outburst.

"This was not political, it was a spontaneous mob fury," he claimed.

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