Sheikh Shahjahan arrested: TMC credits Abhishek Banerjee, BJP dubs it scripted | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sheikh Shahjahan arrested: Trinamool credits Abhishek Banerjee, BJP dubs it scripted

Feb 29, 2024 10:03 AM IST

Sandeshkhali violence case: Sheikh Shahjahan, accused of alleged sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing in West Bengal, was arrested today.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh on Thursday hailed the arrest of absconding party leader Sheikh Shahjahan, accused of torturing villagers in trouble-torn Sandeshkhali area, and said it was possible only after the Calcutta high court cleared the decks and accused the opposition of exploiting the earlier "embargo" on his arrest. Kunal Ghosh also claimed that TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee had pointed out earlier that due to some parts of the order from the court, the West Bengal Police had been restrained from taking any action.

TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.(PTI)
TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.(PTI)

The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, dubbed the arrest as scripted and claimed he was in the safe custody of the West Bengal Police.

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Sheikh Shahjahan, accused of alleged sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali, was arrested on Thursday morning, the police said. Sheikh Shahjahan was arrested from a house at Minakhah in North 24 Parganas district where he was hiding, the police added.

"Due to a legal tangle, he couldn't be arrested initially. However, after the court clarified that there was no stay on his arrest, the West Bengal Police did its job. The opposition had earlier exploited the embargo on his arrest," Kunal Ghosh told news agency PTI.

“Our leader Abhishek Banerjee pointed out earlier that due to some parts of the order from the high court, the state police has been restrained from taking any action. After Abhishek Banerjee pointed out the problem, the high court removed the restrictions and the Police became free. We had full trust and full faith in the police, we said within a few days, you would see the result and today Shahjahan has been arrested...,” Kunal Ghosh told news agency ANI.

On Wednesday, the Calcutta high court directed that Sheikh Shahjahan can be arrested by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the West Bengal Police.

On Monday, the high court had directed police to arrest Sheikh Shahjahan, following which the Trinamool Congress asserted that it does not shield culprits and he would be arrested within seven days.

"We had said he would be arrested in seven days as we were confident of the ability of the state police," he said.

The opposition BJP, which had claimed that Sheikh Shahjahan was in "safe custody" of the Bengal police since Tuesday night, dubbed the arrest as scripted.

"It was the TMC and the state police which were shielding the culprits. He has been arrested now as a part of a well-scripted story," BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.

Sandeshkhali unrest

The riverine Sandeshkhali area – situated on the borders of the Sundarbans, about 100 kilometres from Kolkata – has been on the boil for over a month now, with protests over allegations of sexual abuse and land grabbing against Sheikh Shahjahan, who is absconding, and his supporters.

The violence erupted after accusations against Sheikh Shahjahan and his supporters of land grabbing and sexual assault with the local TMC strongman evading authorities since a mob attack on Enforcement Directorate officials on January 5.

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