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Sandeshkhali Happenings Have Put 'Humanity To Shame': Union Minister Thakur

Reacting to the protests in the village in North 24 Parganas district after local women accused absconding Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of "sexually assaulting" them, Thakur targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and asked how long will the women of West Bengal tolerate such a situation.

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Anurag Thakur on Tuesday lashed out at the TMC government in West Bengal over Sandeshkhali Violence
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Whatever is happening in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali village, which has been witnessing protests over allegations of sexual abuse of women, "puts humanity to shame" and brings a bad name to the country, Union minister Anurag Thakur said on Tuesday as he lashed out at the Trinamool Congress government in the state.

Reacting to the protests in the village in North 24 Parganas district after local women accused absconding Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of "sexually assaulting" them, Thakur targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and asked how long will the women of West Bengal tolerate such a situation.

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"With a woman Chief Minister, incidents of atrocities and rape on women have come to light (in Sandeshkhali). They (victims) are not being heard with the police giving protection to the goons, and the CM giving protection to the police. After all, how long will the women of West Bengal have to endure this?" the BJP leader asked while talking to the media here in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports said, "Sandeshkhali's message is going out in every street of West Bengal today that women are not safe, and Mamata ji's government is doing the work of suppressing the voice of the media." He alleged the TMC government was "trying to strangle press freedom" in West Bengal.

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"How long will you suppress the media and women's voices? Why has law and order broken down under your government? Be it the rights of women or the media, work has been done to destroy them. This also brings a bad name to the country," he added. Thakur was in Silvassa to attend a programme where sports kits were distributed to local youths.

In his address at the programme, the Union minister said India aspires to host the Youth Olympics in 2030 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2036.

"Days are not far when India will host the Olympics. 'Modi hai to mumkin hai,' (With Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is possible) and we will make it possible. On one hand, we are on the path to become a developed nation and on the other, we are progressing in sports too," he said.

Thakur said the Modi government has increased the budget for sports four-fold to Rs 3,400 crore now from Rs 864 crore allocated by the then-Congress government in 2013-14.

"If today India is ranked among top 25 countries (in terms of medal tally in Olympics), then in 2036 we will be among top 10 countries in the Olympics, and by 2047 India will be among the top five medal winning countries in the world," he said.

He said the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry has created 1,075 "Khelo India" centres at the district-level across the country, and offers Rs 5 lakh to a former athlete every year to run each of these facilities.

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"We are now mapping every district, and in coming times we will map every block so that we can create facilities for sports at district, block and panchayat levels," the Union minister said.

"When India organises the Olympic Games in 2036 (on winning bid), then players from the Union Territory (UT) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu will get to participate in them," he maintained.

Thakur said Silvassa has been selected as a "Khelo India" centre of excellence where players will be offered training of international standards in archery, athletics and table tennis by creating infrastructure for the same. Sports kits were provided to about 35,000 players of the Union Territory as part of the Sports Outreach Programme announced by Administrator Praful Patel in 2023.

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The programme's main objective is to identify talented players from rural and urban areas of the UT and provide them better opportunities in sports.

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