Sandeshkhali: Mamata govt surpassed CPI(M) in subjecting people to atrocities, says BJP

NEW DELHI: The Mamata Banerjee-led government has surpassed the erstwhile CPI(M) dispensation in subjecting the people of West Bengal to atrocities, the BJP claimed on Wednesday, saying the public will give a befitting reply to the ruling TMC in the Lok Sabha elections.

Raising the issue of alleged sexual harassment of women in Sadeshkhali in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district, senior BJP leader and former Union minister Ravi Shakar Prasad also slammed the Congress and other constituents of the opposition INDIA bloc, questioning their silence on the matter.

"The Sandeshkhali issue is becoming very serious. The patent assault, humiliating treatment, sexual assault on woman is a shame on our society and democracy," Prasad said at a press conference at the BJP headquarters in the national capital.

The BJP leader also slammed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for "defending" such incidents in the state, questioning her conscience and that of other opposition parties.

"When Mamata Banerjee struggled (in the past) against the CPI(M)'s atrocities and sat on an indefinite agitation against it, we all had become her fan and lauded her struggle. Today her atrocity, police repression, has surpassed that of the (then) CPI(M) (rule)," he charged.

"It's a shame. Where is her conscience?" he asked and added, "Mamata ji, you will have to give a reply. Mamata ji, you will have to pay for it. People will give a political reply to you." The riverine Sandeshkhali area situated on the borders of the Sunderbans, about 100 kilometres from Kolkata has been witnessing protests after local women accused absconding Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shajahan and his supporters of land grab and sexual assault under coercion.

Prasad condemned the Congress top brass, the AAP, Left parties and other constituents of the INDIA bloc for not speaking out on the Sandeshkhali issue and said their silence is evidence of their "sheer hypocrisy and utter double standards".

He also condemned the arrest of a news channel reporter by the West Bengal Police.

"One incident happened in Chandigarh. We respect the Supreme Court's decision. That is a closed chapter. But all are giving speeches in chorus on that. But all of them are silent on the robbing of women's dignity in Sandeshkhali," the BJP leader said, referring to the top court verdict on the Chandigarh mayoral poll.

Prasad said, "Yesterday (Tuesday), I heard a CPI(M) 'netri (woman leader)' went there. But the CPI(M) has neither formally opposed (the alleged incidents in Sandeshkhali) nor made a public comment on the issue. Rahul Gandhi, who speaks on every issue, is also silent." He added, "They say the BJP is undemocratic, people are not safe under the BJP. Today, under Mamata Banerjee's rule, women are not safe. They are being subjected to police repression. And Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, communists all of them are silent."


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