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Shahjahan’s arrest opens the field for Oppn parties in Sandeshkhali

Kolkata, Feb 29, 2024
The ground realities seem to be changing at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district, where the ruling Trinamool Congress had been enjoying a virtual monopoly for around the past 10 years.

The arrest of Sheikh Shahjahan, the local Trinamool strongman and the accused mastermind behind the attack on ED and CAPF teams at Sandeshkhali on January 5, seems to be making the difference there, and that too very fast.

Shahjahan, who was arrested from Minakhah in North 24 Parganas district late on Wednesday night after being on the run for 55 days, was remanded to 10-day police custody by a district court on Thursday. The party was also quick to suspend him for six years following his arrest.

The leader of opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, reached Sandeshkhali on Thursday along with BJP legislator Shankar Ghosh, where he announced that the party will organise a public meeting there on March 10, the day Trinamool will kick-start its campaign for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls with a mega rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata.

Speaking to mediapersons, Adehikari also said that Shahjahan’s arrest will not mean the end of the agitation by the people of Sandeshkhali, especially the women, against years of oppression, including sexual harassment of women, by local Trinamool leaders.

“The picture is yet to end. It will end with the arrest of all the aides of Shahjahan, who were partners in crime. Shahjahan’s arrest is nothing but an eyewash jointly scripted by the ruling party and the state police. His arrogant appearance at the Basirhat court is proof to that. He will get royal treatment while in police custody,” Adhikari said.

Besides the BJP, the CPI(M) leadership has also become active since Thursday afternoon to reorganise its organisational base in Sandeshkhali, once considered a virtual Red bastion during the 34-year Left Front rule in the state.

On Thursday, CPI(M) state secretary Md Salim, the party’s central committee member Sujan Chakraborty, and former legislator from Sandeshkhali, Nirapada Sardar, organised a street-corner meeting there, which witnessed an impressive gathering of local CPI(M) supporters.

“The people of Sandeshkhali, especially the women, have crossed the limit of their patience after the prolonged oppression by the ruling dispensation. But now the women have united. They will carry forward the movement against oppression, holding the red flag high,” Sardar said.(Agency)

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