Shahjahan Sheikh: Meet TMC's ‘Bhai’ – ‘mastermind’ behind attack on ED officials | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Shahjahan Sheikh: Meet Trinamool's ‘Bhai’ – alleged mastermind behind attack on ED officials in Bengal

Jan 06, 2024 02:17 PM IST

Local TMC leaders said Shahjahan Sheikh commands both respect and fear. His supporters left at least three ED officials injured in North 24 Parganas.

Shahjahan Sheikh, the alleged mastermind behind the attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials during a raid in West Bengal on Friday, rose to become the uncrowned king of the state's fisheries belt.

LocaL TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh
LocaL TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh

The ED sleuths were conducting a raid at Shahjahan Sheikh's residence, as part of a probe into a ration distribution scam, when his supporters became violent, leaving at least three ED officials injured and their vehicles damaged.

The attack on the ED team was widely criticised by political parties, including the INDIA bloc ally Congress, but the ruling Trinamool Congress refuted the charges and accused the ED officials of inciting the locals.

While the BJP termed the attack as "a direct assault on the federal structure", the Congress demanded the President's Rule. Governor CV Ananda Bose said the state government's duty is to quell "barbarism, and emphasised that West Bengal is not a “banana republic”.

President of the Sandeshkhali TMC unit, Shahjahan Sheikh's political trajectory peaked when he secured a zilla parishad seat last year.

Who is Shahjahan Sheikh?

  • Shahjahan Sheikh, 42, is popularly known as "Bhai", who started as a small-time worker in the fisheries of the Sandeshkhali block in North 24 Parganas near the Bangladesh border, news agency PTI reported.
  • The eldest of four siblings, Sheikh began as a worker in fisheries and brick kilns in Sandeshkhali.
  • In 2004, Sheikh entered politics as a union leader in brick kilns. He later joined the local CPI(M) unit, maintaining his presence despite the changing political landscape in West Bengal.
  • Known for fiery speeches and organisational skills, Sheikh caught the attention of Trinamool Congress leadership in 2012, PTI added.
  • Under the leadership of the then TMC national general secretary Mukul Roy and North 24 Parganas TMC district president Jyotipriyo Mullick, Sheikh joined the party and quickly ascended in power, becoming a close associate of Mullick.
  • Since then, Sheikh's trajectory in the corridors of power has been unstoppable, raising eyebrows.
  • In 2018, Sheikh gained prominence as the deputy head of the Sarberia Agarhati gram panchayat.
  • Sheikh, known as 'Matsa Karmadhakshya' (in-charge of fisheries) for North 24 Parganas, oversees the district's fishery development, reflecting his influential standing in both political and economic spheres.
  • Sheikh is also a go-to figure for conflict resolution in the area, mediating family disputes and land disagreements.
  • His younger brothers are active TMC workers managing his business, including land dealings, PTI reported.
  • According to leaders from the local TMC and opposition, Sheikh commands both respect and fear in the region. "To some, he is a messiah; to his detractors, he is a terror. He carries a Robin Hood image in the area," said a local TMC leader.
  • Despite involvement in criminal cases, he has played an important role in curbing child trafficking, earning recognition for his efforts in making Sarberia Agarhati gram panchayat a 'Child-Friendly Gram Panchayat' in 2019, the report said.
  • In the aftermath of the violent clashes between BJP and TMC workers in Sandeshkhali post-Lok Sabha elections in June 2019, resulting in deaths on both sides, Sheikh found himself implicated in a murder FIR filed in connection with the incident.

(With inputs from PTI)

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