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“Even if 1% True, 100% Shameful” – High Court Slams Mamata Govt

The state’s High Court harshly reprimanded Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s government on Thursday while it heard affidavits requesting investigations into the claims of sexual assault, land grab, and extortion that have surfaced from Sandeshkhali ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam led a bench that told Ms. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress—which faced intense criticism for seemingly shielding Sheikh Shahjahan, a local politician who is the primary accused—that it could not avoid accountability if the accusations prove to be accurate.

He said, “Even if one affidavit is correct, it is shameful. Even if one percent is true it is absolutely shameful. West Bengal says it is safest for women. Even if one affidavit is proven to be right all of this falls. The entire district administration and the ruling party have 100 percent moral responsibility.”

The court also took a harsh stance against the attorney defending Sheikh Shahjahan, who was apprehended on February 29 after evading the law for almost two months. The Bengal government came under criticism for the delayed arrest, and the High Court responded by giving the state a clear order.

The chief justice said, “(55) days you were on the run… playing hide-and-seek. Then you took an obscure stance. (Just because) you close your eyes the world doesn’t become dark.” To this Shahjahan’s lawyer responded, “I was told to be absconding (while) bail plea was pending.” The court eventually reserved its verdict on this matter.

The court previously declared that Bengal Police was “totally biased” and demanded a “fair, honest, and complete investigation” into Sheikh Shahjahan’s alleged misdeeds. “There can be no better case than this… which requires to be transferred (and) to be investigated by the CBI,” it stated.

Bjp’s Comment

Today’s focus was on petitions for some sort of intervention, either through the National Human Rights Commission or a commission appointed by the court so that the women of Sandeshkhali could voice their grievances without fear of repercussions. In support of the petitioners, BJP leader Priyanka Tibrewal emphasized the challenges people had in filing those complaints.

Tibrewal went on to say, “I have gone there… it is burdensome for them to come to Kolkata. I have suggested for a website to make it easier for them. The suggestion is to have a commission where people can approach and voice grievances. Other is for NHRC to intervene.”

“Both commission and website can be done. I went alone… I have seen that the rule of law is broken. (This is) not a political opinion. Land was also grabbed. It was a violation of human rights,” she said.

In addition, Ms. Tibrewal stated that she had heard complaints from other women, but she was holding back on naming them for fear of retaliation. “There was a lady who went to visit her father… she was taken in daylight and raped by (Sheikh) Shahjahan and other workers,” she said.

The court made a sharp remark regarding “moral responsibility” in response to Ms. Tibrewal’s compelling arguments.

Current Situation

The Central Bureau of Investigation is currently handling the case against Sheikh Shahjahan.

The Enforcement Directorate has announced in another occurrence that it has temporarily attached immovable and moveable assets valued at Rs12.78 crore regarding the Sheikh Shahjahan case.

The Trinamool’s main area of dispute is now the Sandeshkhali problem. The opposition claims that Ms. Banerjee is providing Sheikh Shahjahan with protection. Addressing former wrestling body chairman Brij Bhushan Singh, a current BJP MP who has been accused of sexual abuse by female wrestlers, the Trinamool took offense.

In addition, the BJP has decided to field Rekha Patra, one of the women who have accused Shahjahan of sexually abusing her, as a candidate from the Basirhat seat, which includes the island of Sandeshkhali.

During their phone conversation last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to Ms. Patra as “Shakti Swaroopa”. She told NDTV, “He has blessed us… like Lord Ram, like God.”

On January 5, the entire Sandeshkhali case broke out when a group of followers of the now-suspended Trinamool leader confronted an ED team that was heading to carry out a raid. Following the incident, which injured multiple officials of the probe agency, Sheikh Shahjahan instantly fled the scene.

Oindrila Saha
Oindrila Saha
I'm Oindrila, fueled by a love for creative writing and crime fiction. With a Bachelor's in English Honours, I've spent three years as a writer. From childhood, English Literature held me spellbound, shaping my path. Outside of writing, I cherish reading, recording content, cooking, and time with loved ones. My aspiration? To continue weaving compelling tales that resonate with readers.
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