New videos claim Sandeshkhali women deceived to lodge complaints of rape; TMC slams BJP

Kolkata, May 9 (PTI) The Trinamool Congress on Thursday accused the BJP of spreading falsehood about the incidents of Sandeskhali, after purported videos claimed that a local saffron party leader made several women sign blank papers which were later filled up as complaints of sexual assault against TMC leaders.

The videos surfaced days after another clipping became viral, which showed a local functionary of the party claiming that the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari was behind the episode.

PTI, however, could not independently verify the authenticity of any of the videos.

“This again proves that the BJP is spreading falsehood. We have also complained to the Election Commission. This despicable act of fabrication and intimidation will not go unpunished,” senior TMC leader and state minister Shashi Panja said.

In one of the latest videos, a woman was heard saying, “We were deceived into signing on blank papers. We discovered later that rape complaints had been lodged in our names. This is a blatant lie.”

The woman said the authorities should take action against the woman BJP leader who manipulated them to sign on blank papers.

Another alleged Sandeshkhali resident echoed similar sentiments in a separate video, claiming that they have become victims of a scheme orchestrated by BJP leader Piyali Das.

A third woman also levelled the same allegation against Piyali Das and said, she “has tarnished our reputation and inflicted immense suffering upon us.”

CPI(M) Basirhat Lok Sabha candidate Nirapada Sardar claimed that both TMC and BJP are trying to confuse the people of Sandeshkhali by circulating videos to prove their points, but the voters have now been awakened and are now with the Left.

Without mentioning TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee by name, Suvendu Adhikari alleged that these were his handiwork and the party is planning to move court.

Adhikari also blamed I-PAC, an election strategist, for being involved in circulating the videos.

Sandeshkhali comes under Basirhat constituency from where the BJP fielded Rekha Patra, a woman of Sandeshkhali who is also an alleged victim.

The riverine region hit the headlines recently when a group of women protested accusing local TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his associates of sexually assaulting them and land grab. Sheikh and a few others were arrested later.

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