Bengal BJP chief removed from outside Sandeshkhali police station, packed off on boat

Majumdar said he wanted to meet local police officials but was denied permission, following which he decided to start an indefinite sit-in.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 14:47 IST

Kolkata: West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, who on Thursday staged a sit-in outside Sandeshkhali police station demanding the arrest of absconding TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh, was forcibly removed from the spot by law enforcers and packed off on a boat to be transported from the restive area.

Eight days after sustaining injuries during a protest in nearby Taki while trying to enter Sandeshkhali, a riverine area, Majumdar was on Thursday granted permission by the police to visit the trouble-torn region in North 24 Parganas district.

After meeting party leaders in the area, Majumdar went straight to Sandeshkhali police station and later started a sit-in outside it.

"I will continue my sit-in until Shajahan Sheikh is arrested. It has been so many days, but the police have failed to arrest him," he told reporters while raising slogans against the state government.

Majumdar said he wanted to meet local police officials but was denied permission, following which he decided to start an indefinite sit-in.

After the police failed to persuade him to withdraw the sit-in, they resorted to the use of force to remove Majumdar from the spot.

He was later packed off on a boat along with police personnel and was sent to Dhamakhali ferry ghat.

At Dhamakhali, he claimed, "I was arrested and later released on a PR bond. I am now at Dhamakhali ferry ghat but I will not leave the area till all our BJP workers, who have been arrested in Sandeshkhali, are released." Earlier in the day, police allowed Majumdar to visit Sandeshkhali, which has been rocked by protests over alleged sexual assault on women and land-grabbing, on condition that only his security personnel would be with him and no other BJP leader could accompany him.

Despite a disagreement over the condition, the BJP state president acquiesced to the police's stipulations.

A police officer was heard stating, "You can very well go and visit Sandeshkhali. But only your security personnel would be allowed to accompany you. No other BJP leader would be allowed to accompany you."

Majumdar, in his attempt to negotiate for the inclusion of the party's district president due to his unfamiliarity with the terrain, remarked, "This visit was not planned. All of a sudden it was decided. So, if my district president doesn't accompany me, how will I reach the residences of my local leaders?"

However, his request was not granted.

Subsequently, during his journey to Sandeshkhali, Majumdar expressed his intent to stand in solidarity with the local populace.

"I will meet the locals, my party leaders, and then go to the police station and talk to the police personnel," he asserted.

Earlier in the week, following intervention by the Calcutta High Court, both BJP and the CPI(M) leaders visited strife-torn Sandeshkhali, marking the first visit by opposition parties since the onset of protests.

Leaders from both parties described the situation as 'horrific' and 'emblematic of anarchy.

On February 14, Majumdar suffered injuries during a protest related to Sandeshkhali in the nearby Taki area while attempting to enter the region.

A large number of women in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district had accused Trinamool Congress strongman Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of 'land-grab and sexually assaulting' them under coercion.

Shajahan has been absconding after a mob, allegedly affiliated with him, attacked Enforcement Directorate officials who had gone to search his premises in connection with a ration scam on January 5.

(Published 22 February 2024, 14:47 IST)

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