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Sandeshkhali: PIL asks SC for court monitored CBI probe; transfer outside WB

By Jhanak Singh      16 February, 2024 02:26 PM      0 Comments
Sandeshkhali PIL asks SC for court monitored CBI probe transfer outside WB

NEW DELHI: A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking a direction for a court monitored probe by the CBI or a special investigation team into sexual assault of women in Sandeshkhali, Basirhat in West Bengal due to involvement of men from the ruling party (Trinamool Congress) and inaction of the state police.

On Friday, petitioner Adv. Alakh Alok Srivastava mentioned his plea before a bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, who agreed to look into his request for urgent hearing.

The plea also urged the court to shift the matter outside the state of West Bengal to Delhi for the reason.

In his plea, Adv. Alakh Alok Srivastava also sought a direction for setting up a committee of three retired judges of the High Courts, in line with the committee formed in Manipur cases.

Such a committee should be asked to enquire into the nature of violence against women that occurred in the village Sandeshkhali, from all available sources including personal meetings with survivors, members of the families of survivors, local/community representatives, authorities in charge of relief camps and the FIRs lodged as well as media reports and to submit a report to this court on the steps required to meet the needs of the survivors, it said.

The petitioner also sought a direction for providing compensation to the victims and central para military personnel should be deployed for protection of the victims and witnesses.

He contended "deeply disturbing allegations" of sexual assault of the women of Sandeshkhali by the leaders of the ruling party of the state of West Bengal, are evident from a perusal of the relevant portions of the order by the Calcutta High Court on February 13, 2024.

The High Court had noted for quite some time now, three notorious criminals of the locality namely, Sk Shajahan, Shiba Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar, all belonging to the ruling political dispensation, had been torturing the inhabitants of the area in various ways.

"The miscreants would take away women from the locality in the midst of night to their offices and sexually exploit them. No complaint was taken by the local police authorities. In fact, often the police would refer the complainant to the said Shiba," the HC had said.

On January 05, 2024, when a team of Enforcement Directorate officers went to raid Sheikh’s house in Sandeshkhali in connection with alleged irregularities in the PDS scheme then the officers were attacked, leaving three of them badly injured. "Thereafter, very strangely, FIR was filed against the ED officials themselves by the state police," the plea said.

According to news report, at least five victims have claimed that they had faced the incidents of molestation by the accused persons but they kept silent out of fear, it added.

"The National Commission of Women has shockingly found in its enquiry that the police has filed complaints against the relatives of women victims instead of filing their complaints and that the said victims are being threatened by local police," it alleged.

"There is more than a reasonable apprehension that the helpless victims will not get justice if the investigation is left to be conducted by the West Bengal Police due to the involvement of their own police officials and due to their utterly biased approach," the plea claimed.

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Jhanak is a lawyer by profession and legal journalist by passion. She graduated at the top of her cl...Read more


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