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HomeIndiaCPI(M) MLA Sardar arrested, Guv Bose to visit trouble-hit areas

CPI(M) MLA Sardar arrested, Guv Bose to visit trouble-hit areas

KOLKATA: Probe into the stir against the Trinamool Congress’s satraps in Sandeshkhali, North 24 Parganas, took a turn on Sunday as the law-keepers arrested former CPI(M) MLA from the same area on the charges of instigating the protesters who went on a rampage by setting business outlets of a local TMC leader accusing him of his atrocities against the women of the area.

Cutting short his Kerala trip, West Bengal Governor C. V. Ananda Bose is likely to visit Sandeshkhali on Monday. “He will land in Kolkata around 9 am and go straight to the trouble-torn areas of North 24 Parganas district,” said an official at Raj Bhavan.

Nirapada Sardar, who served as Sandeshkhali MLA from 2011 to 2016, was picked up from his south Kolkata rented house and taken straight to Basirhat police station.

Police said Sardar was arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by Shibaprasad Hazra, another TMC functionary in Sandeshkhali who is at large since the officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were bashed up and left bleeding when they went to search the house of the ruling party’s strongman Shahjahan Sheikh in Sandeshkhali in January in connection with a foodgrain scam case.

The agitation in Sandeshkhali, with women armed with sticks and broom in the forefront, reminded Nandigram stir that brought the TMC to power 17 years ago. It is said to be a wake-up call for the ruling party.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets without displaying flags of any political party, organised marches against the highhandedness of Shajahan and his men in the area and set Hazra’s three poultry farms and a liquor outlet ablaze three days ago.

Condemning Sardar’s arrest, CPI(M) leader Bikash Bhattacharya said, “The villagers, who were in the protests, identified themselves in public that they were TMC supporters. They held the atrocities by the ruling party’s local leaders responsible for the mass agitation.”

But shockingly, police arrested the former MLA, who is also a state-committee member of the party, on the basis of a baseless complaint scripted by the ruling party and lodged by someone against whom an entire village is protesting. The police did not even bother to investigate the veracity of the complaint.”

CPI(M) supporters staged a demonstration in front of Bansdroni police station in south Kolkata where Sardar was brought from his home. They alleged that the police did not show any reason when the former legislator was being picked up from his residence.

“It was around 10 am when the men in uniform came in front of my house. One of them asked me to go to the police station with them. When I asked the reason, they did not say anything,” said Sardar at Bansdroni police station.

Sardar had issued several statements after the assault on the ED officers saying Shahjahan, the mastermind behind the attack who fled from the area, was in Sandeshkhali under the shelter of the state police.

Another group of CPI(M) supporters staged a sit-in-demonstration in front of Sandeshkhali police station where Sardar was brought from Kolkata. “Police are acting at the behest of the ruling party. The people of Sandeshkhali will give a reply to it,” said the MLA while being taken inside the police station.

The Basirhat court remanded Sardar to one-day judicial custody as hearing process could not be started as the related documents reached the court late from the police.

Supporters of the CPI(M)’s youth wing DYFI, led by state secretary Minakshi Mukherjee, were stopped at a nearby jetty when they tried to enter Sandeshkhali. Police intercepted them citing the prohibition under Section 144 of CrPC clamped in the area.

Other than clamping Section 144 in Sandeshkhali, internet services were also suspended for indefinite period since Friday night in the four panchayat areas in Sandeshkhali.  

The police also arrested a local BJP leader in connection with the arson carried out by the agitators. BJP leaders, led by Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, took out a protest march in north Kolkata.

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