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Sandeshkhali Violence: Calcutta HC Denies Stay on Arrest of TMC Leader

On Monday, the Calcutta High Court confirmed that there is no stay on the arrest of Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shajahan, who is the prime accused in the case of sexual assault on women in the village of Sandeshkhali, West Bengal. 

The High Court reprimanded the authorities for not taking any action against the allegations, despite some incidents occurring almost four years ago. 

“It is surprising to note that incidents in the area were reported to state police four years ago and that it has taken four years for the case to mature into 42 chargesheets,” said the High Court. 

The bench further added, “A wrong impression has been created as if an interim order of stay of arrest has been given. There is nothing on record to suggest that such a stay is in place. He should be arrested.”

The court has also directed officials to issue a public notice in newspapers regarding the legal actions initiated against Shahjahan so far. The bench also commented on politicians visiting Sandeshkhali despite Section 144 being in place, questioning, “What is the need for hundreds of people going there when people are agitated?”

Sandeshkhali has dominated the news since the beginning of February this year when the women of the village came forward and held protests against the local TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan, alleging sexual abuse and land grabbing. 

Armed with sticks, brooms, and farming tools, the women of the village demanded the arrest of the leader and his two aides, Shibaprasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar. The aides have been arrested so far; however, Sheikh has been on the run.



On Tuesday, West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose also announced that he has issued an ultimatum to the state government: if the main accused isn’t arrested within 72 hours, he will shift base to Sandeshkhali until it happens. This time limit is shorter than the one-week period that the state government imposed on itself. 

The Governor has also demanded that the state prepare an action plan to rehabilitate and assist the victims of sexual assault in Sandeshkhali. He spoke to NDTV last week and mentioned that several women had informed him about cases of molestation, assault, harassment, and intimidation that they had faced, including incidents of their husbands being beaten up. 

He stated that he had written letters to the government regarding this issue and expects appropriate action to be taken by them. 

“I am very clear the government has to do justice. This is what is expected of a government, nothing more, nothing less. I have made it clear that this criminal has to be arrested. I am waiting for the day,” said Bose. 

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