Opposition barred from entering TMC turf

Cong’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, BJP team stopped from entering strife-torn Sandeshkhali
Minister Annapurna Devi with others visits BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar.
Minister Annapurna Devi with others visits BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar.Photo | PTI

KOLKATA : Turning strife-hit Sandeshkhali into a no-entry zone for the opposition parties, police on Friday prevented BJP’s fact-finding team from Delhi and Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from entering the area and interacting with the women who accused the Trinamool Congress satraps of sexual abuse.

In retaliation, both the members of the fact-finding team and Chowdhury, along with Congress supporters, staged separate sit-ins at the spot where they were intercepted.

Slamming Mamata, the state Congress chief who is known as the TMC supremo’s strong critic, termed the Bengal chief minister a “Bengali queen of cruelty”.

“She (Mamata) is playing with fire by dividing the people of Sandeshkhali on the line of religion. She is the Bengali queen of cruelty. Why are opposition parties being prevented from entering Sandeshkhali? What is the state government trying to hide? Why are they trying to politicise it?” asked Chowdhury.

Referring to Mamata’s statement in the Assembly mentioning RSS’s base in Sandeshkhali, Chowdhury said, “She should have known it before.”

A six-member BJP delegation, a fact-finding team of the saffron camp led by Union ministers Pratima Bhoumik and Annapurna Devi, was stopped by the police at Rampur in South 24 Parganas. Three-layer bamboo barricades were put up on the thoroughfare leading to Sandeshkhali to ensure no one could enter the trouble-hit area. The team told police that four would visit Sandeshkhali to comply with the prohibitory order clamped under Section 144 of CrPC, but the police turned down the plea.

Staging a sit-in-demonstration in protest against the interception by the police, Annapurna Devi said, “Police stopped the BJP’s central team. We said we would comply with the prohibitory order, but the police refused to allow us. The lawkeepers are acting at the behest of the ruling TMC.”

The team returned to Kolkata, met Governor C V Ananda Bose, and told him they would move the court to seek permission to go to unrest-hit Sandeshkhali.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari also moved Calcutta High Court seeking a direction from the state government to allow him to visit the women in Sandeshkhali. Adhikari was also prevented from going to Sandeshkhali for the second time on Thursday.

In connection with the unrest in Sandeshkhali, the Supreme Court on Friday received a PIL filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, demanding a special investigation by the CBI or a Special Investigation Team (SIT). Sandeshkhali has been on the boil ever since three officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were bashed up and left bleeding when they went to search the house of local TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh in a foodgrain scam case on January 5.

SC agress to early hearing plea on President’s rule

NCSC chief Arun Halder on Friday said commission has recommended the imposition of President’s rule in West Bengal in its report submitted to President Droupadi Murmu on alleged harassment of women by TMC supporters in Sandeshkhali. The SC on Friday plans to hear the PIL, seeking a court-monitored CBI or SIT probe, along with compensations for the victims into the alleged violence.

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