Sandeshkhali violence | NCW chairperson seeks Mamata resignation, demands President’s rule in Bengal

The NCW chairperson said that she has received 18 complaints from the women in Sandeshkhali out of which two are of rape

Updated - February 19, 2024 08:17 pm IST

Published - February 19, 2024 11:35 am IST - Kolkata

National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma during a visit to Sandeshkhali, in North 24 Parganas district, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma during a visit to Sandeshkhali, in North 24 Parganas district, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma on February 19 visited violence-affected Sandeshkhali and sought the imposition of President’s Rule in the State.

“I do not think that anything is possible without the imposition of the President’s rule in the State,” Ms. Sharma told journalists. She also demanded that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee resign over the developments at Sandeshkhali.

The NCW chairperson said that she has received 18 complaints from the women in Sandeshkhali out of which two are of rape. She said that the women were not ready to go to the police station and she accompanied them to the police to register their complaint.

“The administration and the police are not listening to complaints of women and they do not do anything. Only one woman has come out and registered her statement before a magistrate. We want more women to come forward ...,” Ms. Sharma said. She also added that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has never allowed her officers to meet teams of central officers. The NCW officials also met the senior officials of the State government later in the day.

This is not the first time a head of the national commission has sought imposition of the President’s rule in the State. National Commission of Scheduled Castes chairperson Arun Halder had made a similar remark.

The remarks by NCW chairperson and NCSC chief comes when the main opposition party of the State Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) has not made any such demands. While the State unit of BJP appears divided on the issue, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had earlier ruled out the imposition of President’s rule in the State.

‘Panel parroting BJP script’

Senior State Minister Shashi Panja, who holds the portfolio of State’s Women and Child Welfare Department raised questions on why NCW teams do not visit BJP ruled states.

“Why didn’t she visit Madhya Pradesh’s Morena, where a pregnant woman was gang-raped and set ablaze? Why didn’t the NCW respond when female wrestlers protested against BJP MP’s alleged sexual misconduct? Why did the commission ignore complaints of atrocities against women in Manipur?” Dr. Panja claimed that the West Bengal government has taken all necessary steps to control the situation and several have been arrested.

Seventeen persons, including two Trinamool Congress leaders against whom allegations have been made have been arrested by the police. Locals particularly women had targeted the properties of Trinamool Congress leaders in the first week of February alleging that they were tortured by them.

Allegations have been made against local Trinamool Congress leaders Sheikh Shahjahan, Shiboprasad Hazra and Uttam Gayen. Shiboprasad Hazra who is the local block president of Trinamool Congress, was arrested on February 17 and Uttam Sardar was arrested on February 10.

Despite the arrest of Shiboprasad Hansda and Uttam Gayen, Sheikh Shahjahan is still absconding. Mr. Shahjahan is also accused of inciting an attack on a team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials during a raid on his residence on January 5.

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