Sandeshkhali victims narrate their horror to media, seek President’s intervention

New Delhi, March 15 : Days after the alleged abuse and humiliation of scores of women in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali, a group of victims from the area met President Droupadi Murmu and sought her intervention in the matter.

They also submitted a memorandum, demanding President’s attention and intervention regarding the “deeply distressing” situation in Sandeshkhali.

Later, at a media briefing, the women victims narrated their harrowing ordeal and explained how Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan and his aides humiliated and tortured them for their own “pleasure”.

Speaking on their behalf, Partha Biswas, the Director of the Centre for SC/ST Support and Research, explained how the women of Sandeshkhali were subjected to daily abuse and exploitation by the local Trinamool ‘goons’, under the ‘tacit’ protection of the Mamata Banerjee-led government.

The now-suspended Trinamool leader Shahjahan (40), termed as ‘bhai’ by his supporters, hit national headlines after the women of Sandeshkhali broke their silence and spoke out on the horror meted out to them by him and his associates. He was arrested last week after mass anger and outrage put the Mamata administration on the backfoot.

The victims of Sandeshkhali, recalling their distressing and harrowing experience, said that the sexual assault and exploitation of women in the region was nothing new, as it has been happening for many years.

“The women residents of Block 2 in Sandeshkhali faced exploitation and molestation regularly. Shahjahan and his aides created an atmosphere of terror there. Not just the women were sexually exploited, but their properties were also grabbed by the Trinamool goons,” Biswas said.

When the aggrieved victims used to approach government officials for help, their complaints fell on deaf ears and they were instead told to make peace with their tormentors.

The lid over the dark episode in Sandeshkhali got blown off when Shahjahan and his goons attacked the ED and CAPF teams during their visit to the village to conduct raids in connection with a money laundering case.

The Sandeshkhali victims, with their concealed faces to avoid further trouble, told the media that they were picked up at night to satiate the desires of goons like Shahjahan and were left at their homes the next day.

Another victim said that they kept a deliberate distance from the media as they received threats and warnings by the local mafias.

“Though Shahjahan is behind bars now, we still fear for our lives. His brother and associates are still roaming freely. They must be arrested and the state government must identify and punish all the perpetrators,” they demanded.

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