Indian Vanguard

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Protest over Mahato arrest

Posted by Admin on September 28, 2009

KOLKATA: Policemen impersonating as journalists to arrest PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato came in for criticism from intellectuals and journalists
on Sunday. Incensed with the impersonation, Press Club Kolkata shot off letters to Union home minister P Chidambaram, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti and home secretary Ardhendu Sen, condemning the way Chhatradhar was arrested.

On Monday the day Vijaya Dashami will be observed all over the state intellectuals will sit on a dharna to condemn the arrest. They are demanding immediate release of Chhatradhar. On Sunday, a rally was taken out in support of the PCPA leader, projected as a "leader of people’s struggle".

"The way Chhatradhar Mahato was arrested is illegal. Policemen have to be in uniform and disclose their identity before arresting a person. Police cannot impersonate as other professionals and carry out their activities. There is no provision in the indian legal system for the police to do so. The Indian Constitution gives Mahato the right to know why he was being arrested. We doubt whether he had been told at all," said human rights activist Sujato Bhadra.

"Police have broken the law and should be punished for impersonation. They has violated the newly amended section of 50A of Criminal Procedure Code," Bhadra added.

Among those condemned the arrest are writer Mahasweta Devi, poet Shankha Ghosh, theatre personalities Bibhas Chakraborty, Kaushik Sen and poet Joy Goswami.

"Police claim that Chhatradhar is involved in 20-22 criminal cases. He had held meeting with state officials, chief electoral officer and even senior police officers. We suspect that he has been falsely implicated," said Bhadra.

The president of Press Club Kolkata Premananda Ghosh said the way Chhatradhar was arrested would pose problem for journalists.

"We don’t have to say anything about the arrest. But posing as journalists they have endangered our lives. They even used Press identity cards. People will lose faith in journalists. We are protesting against this," Ghosh said.

Former public prosecutor Kazi Shafiullah said that Mahato can lodge a case against police. "Legally there is nothing to stop police from doing so. But morally this is wrong. No one will talk to unknown journalists after this incident," Shafiullah said. TOI

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