Multiple videos debunk Sandeshkhali horror story, TMC attacks BJP

Several videos were released after a sting operation targeting local BJP cadres

Abhishek Banerjee of trinamool pti photo TMC National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee addresses the media | PTI

The nation was taken aback by widespread accusations of sexual misconduct and assault against local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders in Sandeshkhali of West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district. However, the narrative surrounding the Sandeshkhali sexual assault case has taken a dramatic turn in recent days with the emergence of several videos.

In the first video, a sting operation that came to light last week, local BJP leader Gangadhar Kayal is overheard stating that “false” rape allegations were lodged against local TMC leaders in Sandeshkhali in return for money. He asserted that Rekha Patra, the BJP candidate for the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency, had also filed an “false” rape complaint for Rs 2,000 and that BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari was involved in the planning as well.

In another video, a woman alleges that her mother-in-law was coerced into signing a blank document, which was later used to lodge a false rape complaint at the police station without her knowledge. She further claims that she was threatened by local BJP leaders when she attempted to withdraw her complaint.

The woman claimed that she had complained to local BJP workers about not receiving money for a cooking work that she had done. “I wasn't at home. My mother-in-law was taken away by Mampi Das and Piyali Das [both local BJP workers]. She was taken to the police station saying that the Women's Commission had arrived from Delhi,” she was seen saying in the video with her mother-in-law by her side. 

“They entered the police station and shut the gate. [When my mother-in-law] was asked what the complaint was, she said that she did not get the money for cooking. After that she was made to sign the white paper.”

She alleged that later they found out a complaint of rape, abuse and assault was filed under her mother-in-law’s name. 

However, the most crucial video emerged on Wednesday, where local BJP women workers, including Patra, were seen questioning the identities of the supposed survivors who had visited President Draupadi Murmu.

“We, the victims, are here in Sandeshkhali. Then we need to know who became our face and went (to the Rashtrapati Bhavan). And did they inform us when they went to meet madam President? We are the victims, we are the main face of this movement,” Patra is seen saying, as others around her echoed the same. 

These videos have given the TMC, which found itself on the backfoot due to accusations of rape, land seizure, and extortion against its local leaders, the ammunition to strike the BJP, saying the Sandeshkhali incident was manufactured by the saffron party to gain electoral dividends and tarnish the reputation of West Bengal. 

TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked the BJP, saying, “They have disrespected Sandeshkhali's mothers and sisters in a planned manner. For women, self-respect is more important than money. Don't conspire too much.”

TMC’s second-in-command Abhishek Banerjee too attacked the BJP and compared the Sandeshkhali incident with other “political conspiracies” such as the Godhra train burning incident or the Pulwama attack. “We can't even think that a political party can stoop so low.”

“But two days ago, we witnessed the BJP selling the honor of our mothers and sisters for their votes for just Rs 2000. They tried to defame Trinamool Congress in front of the entire country. They wanted to tarnish Bengal's clean image and culture,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the BJP had claimed initially that the sting video was created with the use of AI Koyal, the local leader, has asked the CBI to investigate the video. About other videos, the saffron party leaders are saying that the TMC is in a damage control mode. 

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