Bengal Governor's "72 Hours Or..." Deadline To Arrest Sandeshkhali Accused

1 month ago 22

Bengal Governor's '72 Hours Or...' Deadline To Arrest Sandeshkhali Accused

CV Ananda Bose was appointed Governor of West Bengal in November 2022 (File).

Kolkata:

Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Tuesday upped the pressure on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her government, declaring he will "shift base" to Sandeshkhali if Sheikh Shahjahan - the main accused in sexual assault and land grab allegations - is not arrested within 72 hours.

The time limit slashes that imposed by the Bengal government on itself - seven days.

"I have written to the state government and given a deadline of 72 hours for the arrest of the main culprit. I will shift my base to Sandeshkhali if the arrest is not made..." Mr Bose told NDTV.

The Governor has also demanded the state prepare an action plan for the rehabilitation of Sandeshkhali women who have accused Shahjahan, a local Trinamool leader, of sexual assault.

The Bengal Governor spoke to NDTV last week too, and said "women in numbers" had met and told him of the harassment they faced. "They said they were molested, harassed, and intimidated... their husbands were beaten up," he said, adding he had sent written complaints to the state government.

READ | "They Were Harassed": Bengal Governor On Sandeshkhali Victims

"I am very clear the government has to do justice. That is what expected of a government, nothing more, nothing less," he said, demanding "perceptible action" by the Chief Minister.

"I have made it clear this criminal has to be arrested. I am waiting for the day..." he said earlier.

READ | "Waiting For Day Of Sheikh Shahjahan's Arrest": Bengal Governor

Mr Bose's ultimatum came after the Calcutta High Court responded to Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee's claim - the state can't arrest Shahjahan because the judiciary had "tied" the police's hands.

"I want to put this on record... Trinamool is not guarding Shahjahan. Judiciary is. Lift the stay and see what police does," he said, hitting back at such allegations by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

The court replied, in no uncertain terms, that Shahjahan "obviously needs to be arrested".

"We clarify there is no stay on arrest in any proceeding. There is only a first information report and he (Shahjahan) has been named as an accused. He is absconding," the High Court Chief Justice said.

READ | Trinamool's 7-Day Claim On Sandeshkhali Strongman's Arrest

In response, senior Trinamool leader Kunal Ghosh declared the Sandeshkhali strongman will be arrested "within seven days". "Thanks to the High Court... for clarifying this matter..." he said on X.

Shahjahan is at the centre of a row that erupted on the island of Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district, where locals have accused him and his aides of land grab, extortion and harassment.

Allegations of sexual violence have also been made against Shahjahan, who went missing after a mob of his supporters attacked an Enforcement Directorate team last month.

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