Bengal: Trouble continues in restive Sandeshkhali

Kolkata, Feb 23 (UNI) Trouble continued in restive Sandeshkhali of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Friday as a makeshift shelter beside a fishery was set on fire even as fresh prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were clamped at nine places for restoring normalcy, official sources said.

The villagers at Bermajur, mostly women armed with sticks and brooms, were seen arguing with a police contingent. They alleged that Sirajuddin Sheikh, brother of absconding Sahjahan Sheikh, had grabbed their cultivated land, flattened many kutcha houses, and later converted those into fish farms, locally called bheri.

It was not known immediately who was behind the torching of the makeshift shelter, which belonged to Sirajuddin, who allegedly had threatened the local people on Thursday evening, the protesting villagers told a police officer.

Police also set up camps in the region and assured the villagers their problems would be looked into.

ADG, South Bengal, Supratim Sarkar was also seen in the region monitoring the situation along with the Basirhat SP, sources said.

A BJP delegation headed by MP Locket Chatterjee was stopped by the police at Bhojerhat on their way to Sandeshkhali. Police said fresh prohibitory orders were clamped on Thursday night at nine places under five gram panchayats (village councils).

Meanwhile, a six-member National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) team visited the troubled area to assess the situation after talking to the villagers and the local administration. The commission has three women members and as many men, who have been escorted by the central armed forces.

The commission has already issued notices to the chief secretary and the director general of police, seeking reports within four weeks on the violence in Sandeshkhali and the action taken or proposed to be taken against the perpetrators of crimes.

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