Sandeshkhali Riots: Women Fear Retaliation On Speaking Up, Says NCW

The National Commission for Women said that their research team recorded harrowing statements from Sandeshkhali women amid the ongoing violence. The women reportedly stated that those who spoke up against atrocities were met with retaliation.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
ncw sandeshkhali Women who speak up against atrocities faced retaliation

The National Commission for Women said that their research team recorded harrowing statements from the women of Sandeshkhali amid the ongoing violence. The NCW found that the women who spoke up against the alleged atrocities by Trinamool Congress leaders, Sheikh Shahjahan and his aides, were met with retaliation. Earlier this month, a protest advocating the arrest of Shahjahan turned violent and Section 144 was imposed in some regions of West Bengal. The women alleged that the local party leaders sexually assaulted them, forcefully grabbed their land, and arbitrarily arrested the men in their families. 


Recently, a special team of women police officers was sent to Sandeshkhali but the women denied any instances of sexual assault. According to reports, while there were no complaints of sexual harassment, they were called to the TMC office at odd hours and threatened if they refused. However, the Sandeshkhali women allegedly confided in the NCW that they were afraid of speaking up out of fear of retaliation.

What The Women Told NCW

A fact-finding team from the National Commission for Women visited Sandeshkhali where they recorded statements from the women. The NCW said that the women alleged sexual harassment, property confiscation, and arbitrary arrests of male family members. The Commission said that their testaments expose the widespread systemic abuse and fear to speak up against the exploitation. 

The NCW told India Today, "Disturbing testimonies gathered from women in the village painted a harrowing picture of widespread fear and systematic abuse. Victims in Sandeshkhali recounted instances of physical and sexual violence perpetrated by both police officers and members of the Trinamool Congress (TMC)." According to the NCW, the Director-General of Police (DGP) and Superintendent of Police (SP) allegedly failed to assist and cooperate with their team during their visit to Sandeshkhali.

"The gravity of the situation was underscored by an alarming incident wherein an NCW committee member recorded a woman's testimony, only to have the recording deleted as the victim begged for her safety," the NCW report said. In a collective statement signed as 'Sandeshkhali Gramvasi', the women recounted the horrors they have faced including harassment, torture and violations of their dignity and rights.

Meanwhile, the issue of Sandeshkhali women has turned into a political discourse as the leading party and opposition are playing a blame game. The alleged prime accused, Sheikh Shahjahan of TMC has been at large since January, after an ED raid at his residence. One of his aides, Uttam Sardar has been apprehended, while the police are on the lookout for Shiba Prasad Hazra.


Sexual harassment women led protest sandeshkhali riots