‘Even if 1% is true…’: Calcutta HC pulls up West Bengal govt on Sandeshkhali violence | Latest News India

‘Even if 1% is true…’: Calcutta HC pulls up West Bengal govt on Sandeshkhali violence | Latest News India

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The Calcutta High Court on Thursday, while hearing the pleas that sought a probe into sexual harassment and alleged land grabbing, extortion and sexual crimes against local women by Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shahjahan, expressed its discontent over the issue before the bench.

Suspended Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman and Sandeshkhali. (ANI Photo)
Suspended Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman and Sandeshkhali. (ANI Photo)

Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam said as per LiveLaw, “The entire district administration and ruling dispensation must owe a moral responsibility. Even if [the affidavit] 1% is true it is absolutely shameful. And West Bengal says it is safest for women? If one affidavit is proved to be right all of this falls.”

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A division bench of Chief Justice Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya was hearing the Public Interest Litigations (PILs). The bench was hearing arguments seeking an independent probe into the harassment of women by Shahjahan and his men in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali.

The Calcutta HC reserved its verdict.

Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal, who filed a PIL, said that the court should be transferred to a court-monitored commission, LiveLaw reported. She said she had visited the affected area and spoke to women who were afraid of the police and repercussions but wanted to raise their voices against Shahjahan.

Submitting affidavits of women who were allegedly sexually assaulted, Tibrewal said, “If they prove a single affidavit is wrong, I will quit my practice forever.”

In February this year, the high court took suo motu cognisance of the Sandeshkhali case after allegations surfaced that women were “sexually assaulted at gunpoint”.

Later in February, the court also ordered the arrest of the TMC leader stating that there was no stay on his arrest.

In March, the probe into the January 5 attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in Sandeshkhali and the custody of Shahjahan was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

ED officials were attacked when they went to search Shahjahan’s house in connection with the ration distribution scam. While the TMC leader, who gained significant power in the area, was on the run, several women claimed that they had been sexually assaulted by him.

The agency is investigating multiple FIRs filed against Shahjahan by the West Bengal police several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Arms Act, SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and West Bengal State Highways Act. The crimes are — sexual assault, murder, attempt to murder, extortion, and land grabbing among others.

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