Justice Delayed? Calcutta High Court’s Stand on Alleged Forced Withdrawal of Rape Cases in Sandeshkhali

The Calcutta High Court declined an urgent hearing for BJP leader and Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal, who alleged coercion of women in Sandeshkhali to withdraw rape cases against TMC workers. Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam advised Tibrewal to address her concerns to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), currently investigating the matter.

Tibrewal brought the Sandeshkhali matter before the Bench, urging an urgent hearing of the case, citing alarming reports of women feeling unsafe in their own homes. Allegations included incidents of police coercion to withdraw rape cases and reports of victims facing physical abuse. The State government’s counsel countered Tibrewal’s claims, accusing her of exacerbating tensions whenever she visited the area.

The case revolves around allegations of land grab and sexual assaults by TMC strongman Shahjahan Sheikh and his associates in Sandeshkhali. Following his suspension by the party and subsequent arrest by the West Bengal Police after a prolonged pursuit, the High Court had transferred the investigation to the CBI in an order dated April 10.

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About the Author: Payal Singh