One of the three women from West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali village who had accused functionaries of the Trinamool Congress of rape withdrew her complaint on Wednesday, The Times of India reported.

The woman stated that the rape complaint was false. She also filed another complaint at the Sandeshkhali police station, claiming that she had been threatened after her decision to withdraw the complaint, the newspaper reported.

She alleged that a worker from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s women’s wing and other party workers had visited her home and forced her to sign a blank paper.

“They asked for my signature on the pretext of enlisting my name for PMAY [Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme],” the woman said. “Later, they took me to the police station to lodge a complaint of sexual abuse.”

The woman also claimed that the community had ostracised her at the behest of the BJP workers. “We are feeling unsafe, and I have sought police help,” she said.

The BJP women’s wing worker in question, however, said the complainant was the wife of a Trinamool Congress functionary and was acting on directions from the ruling party in the state.

“Nobody forced her to file a complaint,” The Times of India quoted the BJP women’s wing member as saying. “She and other women themselves narrated their plight to National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma. The truth will come out when the CCTV footage from inside the police station is released.”

The BJP member also accused the complainant and her husband of siphoning money from the relief funds allotted for the state after cyclones Amphan in 2020 and Bulbul in 2019.

On Saturday, the Trinamool Congress released a video purportedly showing a BJP leader alleging that the sexual harassment complaints against the Trinamool Congress functionaries were filed at the behest of Suvendu Adhikari, a leader of the Hindutva party.

In the video, BJP’s Sandeshkhali unit chief Gangadhar Kayl, or Koyal, can be heard saying: “We got it done [complaints of sexual harassment in Sandeshkhali] as per instructions of Suvendu da [Suvendu Adhikari], he helped us. Suvendu da said if you do not do this, then you would not be able to get the strong people arrested and sustain yourself.”

On Thursday, the Trinamool Congress filed a complaint with the Election Commission against Adhikari and others in connection with the video, PTI reported quoting party workers.

The party told the poll panel that Adhikari had “confessed” on camera that the allegations of sexual abuse in Sandeshkhali were false.

Sandeshkhali case

In early January, the Enforcement Directorate officials were allegedly attacked at Sandeshkhali in the state’s North 24 Parganas district when they were carrying out raids at the house of now-suspended Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh in connection with an alleged ration distribution scam.

A mob had allegedly attacked the Enforcement Directorate officials with stones, bricks and batons.

Following this, several local women had accused Sheikh and his associates, Shiba Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar, of torturing and sexually harassing them over several years and also of grabbing their lands for prawn cultivation.

The women had held protests demanding that the three men be arrested. They alleged that Sheikh and his associates used to survey homes to look for young women, whom they would take to the party office and sexually assault.

Sheikh was arrested by the police on February 29 after absconding for more than 50 days. While Sardar was arrested on February 11, Hazra was arrested on February 17.

On April 25, the Central Bureau of Investigation registered a first information report to investigate the allegations of land grabbing and sexual harassment.