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Judiciary

Calcutta HC criticizes State for failure to apprehend TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh amid Sandeshkhali violence

By Rintu Mariam Biju      20 February, 2024 06:04 PM      0 Comments
Calcutta HC criticizes State for failure to apprehend TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh amid Sandeshkhali violence

CALCUTTA: On Tuesday, the Calcutta High Court took exception to the State’s failure to apprehend the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Shajahan Sheikh (the prime accused), who has been absconding since the Enforcement Directorate (ED) team that came to raid his residence. 

The issues in Sandeshkhali began when a team of ED officials investigating the multi-crore ration scam were attacked while they were on their way to raid the leader’s residence. 

Sheikh is the "sole cause" of all the issues that have been plaguing Sandeshkhali in the North 24 Parganas district, where there have been accusations of sexual harassment and land grabs, a division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya observed. 

The Court was hearing a plea moved by the State, against orders of coordinate benches of the High Court, which set aside the imposition of section 144 CrPC orders in the area and permitted Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, along with another opposition MLA to visit the area and interact with the aggrieved people.

In today’s hearing, the Court expressed that the State police certainly failed to arrest the TMC leader, especially when there was ‘prima facie’ material to demonstrate that he had done damage to the public. 
In response to this, the State Advocate General Kishore Datta clarified that the State was not supporting the absconding leader.

Speaking on the situation in Sandeshkhali, the bench stated said that Sheikh need to come out and respond to the accusations made against him as he has continued to serve as a public representative in Zila Parishad. He can’t defy the law, he has to appear before the Court, the Bench remarked. 

In addition to this, the Court said that orders to restrict the public movement under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure cannot have any impact on the situation in Sandeshkhali. Such action was rather aggravating the situation there and a “larger view of the matter” has to be taken by the State of West Bengal, it was said. 

During the hearing, the bench also pointed to a suo moto case that was initiated by a single bench regarding the events unfolding in the area. 
The Court will hear the matter next on February 26.

Yesterday, the Court refused urgent listing for a plea which claimed to be for the 'protection' of women affected by the alleged violence in Sandeshkhali.



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