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Sandeshkhali tense again as women hit streets seeking Shahjahan’s arrest

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Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) Tension erupted in Sandeshkhali as women hit the streets again carrying sticks and brooms demanding the arrest of absconding Sheikh Shahjahan and his close associates accused of sexual harassment and violence.Considering the gravity of the situation, the police have issued fresh prohibitory orders under Section 144 in areas under two village panchayats in Sandeshkhali where the tension was maximum since Friday morning.Additional Director of Police (South Bengal) Supratim Sarkar has reached the tension-hit zone with a huge police contingent. He was heard appealing to the protesting women to contact the district administration and register their complaints instead of protesting on the streets. The senior cop was also seen making an attempt to convince the protesters by saying that such protests will only delay the process of redemption of their grievances.Tension was brewing in Sandeshkhali since Thursday evening after the local people burnt down a warehouse within a pisciculture farm owned by Sheikh Sirajuddin, the younger brother of Sheikh Shahjahan, the accused mastermind behind the attack on the ED and CAPF sleuths on January 5 morning.Besides the arrest of absconding Trinamool Congress leader, the protesting women, on Friday, also raised the demand of return of farmland illegally and forcefully occupied by Shahjahan and his associates and converted them into pisciculture farms by forcefully flowing in saline water there.Meanwhile, a team of BJP delegation led by the party Lok Sabha member Locket Chatterjee and the party legislator Agnimitra Paul was stopped by the police midway while they were on their way to Sandeshkhali. After being stopped in the Bhojerhat area, Chatterjee and Paul were seen getting engaged in a heated exchange of words with the police officials. There was a minor scuffle between the BJP supporters and the cops.Chatterjee was later arrested and brought to the Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazar in Central Kolkata.–IANSsrc/dpb

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