The voices of women victims of Sandeshkhali should not be drowned in the noise of politics.

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Sandeshkhali of West Bengal has been in the headlines for the last few days. The news that is filtering out from Sandeshkhali can distress any sensitive person. In view of the number of reports and analyzes that have come out on Sandeshkhali, it is surprising that since 2011, the atrocities, sexual harassment and forcible occupation of land by ‘poor people’ have been continuing there, but the Chief Minister is terming them as lies. On the basis of the information received, it can be said that the medieval slave system is alive in Sandeshkhali.

The entire matter of Sandeshkhali has come to the fore after the action of the Enforcement Directorate i.e. ED. On January 5, 2024, ED officials had come to Sarbediya in Sandeshkhali to interrogate Trinamool leader Sheikh Shahjahan in the ration corruption case. With the help of Trinamool goons, not only did leader Shahjahan Sheikh manage to escape, but government officials were also attacked during this period. Since then, the local people raised their voice and came forward openly. Whatever he told is unimaginable in the 21st century.

Shahjahan Shaikh and his henchmen kept kidnapping women as their personal property, kept them in Trinamool office and left them after sexually exploiting them. The husband of a married woman is also told that the Sheikh has the first right over his wife. It was a common practice in Sandeshkhali to forcibly abduct any beautiful woman and sexually exploit her. When the women were asked why they remained silent till now against this atrocities, their answer was that they gained courage only when Shahjahan ran away due to fear of ED. He continued to terrorize people by forcibly occupying their lands and snatching their wages, but his courage was high because of his association with Trinamool Congress.

After the ED raid, Sandeshkhali has become a living example of women empowerment. But despite being a woman, Mamata Banerjee is still maintaining that Sandeshkhali is the RSS’s sphere of influence instead of paying attention to the allegations against her party’s notorious leader. Women are also being pressurized to prove that they were raped. As the controversy escalated, the Governor of West Bengal visited Sandeshkhali on 12 February. After meeting the women here, the Governor told the media, “I listened to the mothers and sisters of Sandeshkhali. I did not believe that something like this could happen on the land of Rabindranath Tagore.” The seriousness of the situation can be understood from the Governor’s statement.

The report of the fact-finding team of the National Commission for Women has also revealed the horror of the situation in Sandeshkhali. ‘The testimonies collected from women in the village are disturbing, painting a horrifying picture of widespread fear and systematic abuse there,’ the report said. According to this, ‘the victims mentioned incidents of physical and sexual violence committed by police officers and Trinamool Congress people.’ It seems that the police was also actively involved in the criminal empire that Shahjahan Sheikh had established in Sandeshkhali. The report of the National Commission for Women states that all the women of this village who raised their voice against atrocities had to suffer the consequences.

Due to pressure from all sides, the police have definitely caught some small-time Trinamool leaders just for show, but the action taken by the police and the administration to stop those who are going to take stock of the situation in Sandeshkhali makes it clear that the Mamata government He is more concerned about his party leaders than the honor and respect of women. The Trinamool government of West Bengal has crossed all limits of Muslim appeasement. Bengal has 27 percent Muslim population. Mamata Banerjee remains in power by appeasing them and is pushing the Islamic agenda. During the rule of Mamata Banerjee, Hindus in West Bengal no longer have the freedom to even celebrate their religious customs and festivals.

The reality is that all the goons who were synonymous with terror during the rule of the Left government, joined Trinamool Congress as soon as the government changed. As a result, the situation of West Bengal remained like that of stuck on dates falling from the sky. The looting which was earlier done by the Left party cadre is now being carried out indiscriminately by anti-social elements who have become Trinamool workers. Since the police do not stop their activities, the public is also afraid. The incident of Sandeshkhali is not the first. In the last few years, this state has been trapped in the grip of anarchy. Since Congress and the Left have been completely marginalized, BJP is emerging as an alternative in West Bengal. In the battle of Sandeshkhali also she stood with the victimized women. Although the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, raises his voice against the Mamata government, it is surprising that the Indian alliance in which Trinamool is also included does not say anything against the atrocities in Sandeshkhali. Even from Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, there was no opposition to Mamata Banerjee’s government as was expected.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said in the Assembly that there is an RSS base in Sandeshkhali and it is instigating and misleading women. If the Sangh is involved in any criminal activities, then why did the Chief Minister and the state police not take action against it? But the irresponsible attitude that Mamata Banerjee has shown till now on this incident is shameful. Is it possible that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee does not know where her ‘syndicate’ is? During Mamata-Raj, such a syndicate has been formed within Trinamool, which mostly shows cruelty against the Hindu population. They also give death threats to men. During the 2021 assembly elections, the same syndicate had committed 273 incidents against the BJP. Many activists were also killed. This hooliganism has been wreaking havoc openly in Panchayat elections. Can the rule of a woman Chief Minister be such that brutes can openly commit murders and atrocities? The attitude of the Supreme Court in this matter is also disappointing.

When dozens of women from a place are publicly giving information about the inhuman atrocities committed on them, then the Chief Minister should have personally met them and taken the initiative to get the criminals punished. But on the contrary, by giving it a political twist, she is busy saving the anti-social elements associated with her party. It would have been better if the joint delegation of Congress and other parties included in the opposition alliance had put Mamata Banerjee in the dock after listening to the victims of Sandeshkhali, but due to the politics of votes, most of the parties are keeping silent on the insult to women. Since Lok Sabha elections are near, it remains to be seen whether such a serious issue gets buried in political allegations and noise. The accused should be given strict punishment, who should set an example.

-Ashish Vashishtha

(The author is a senior freelance journalist)

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