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No evidence against intellectuals: West Bengal

Posted by Admin on October 7, 2009

Kolkata, Oct 7 (IANS) The West Bengal government did not have any specific evidence against those Kolkata intellectuals who had visited Lalgarh expressing solidarity for the movement carried out by the tribals in the region, state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said Tuesday.

"We’ve no specific information on the basis of which we can arrest them (intellectuals)," Sen told reporters here.

"If we had any specific evidence against the intellectuals we would have arrested them by now," he said.

Earlier, the state government had declared that those who had links with the arrested tribal leader Chhattradhar Mahato and his organisation People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) could be interrogated by the police, if needed.

Some top officers in the state police told the media Sunday that some intellectuals were under the scanner for their links with Mahato and the Maoists.

On Monday, state Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said while the administration had no issues with the intellectuals, "under the centre’s Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), anybody who helps forces like the Maoists is also guilty. The law is equal for both intellectuals and the others. The law will take its own course."

Protesting the statements, the state’s principal opposition Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee warned the state government saying the people will launch protests if any of the intellectuals is touched by police.

A group of intellectuals, who have been stringently opposing the state’s Left Front government for the past couple of years over issues ranging from Singur to Nandigram, visited Lalgarh in June and met Mahato.

Filmmaker Aparna Sen, theatre personalities like Shaonli Mitra and Kaushik Sen and others had gone to the trouble-torn belt under the banner of Swajan.

Meanwhile, Magsaysay award winner author Mahashweta Devi, an active member of Swajan, said she was not at all surprised by the home secretary’s statements Tuesday. "We have always been opposed to violence. I have always been against violence."

Some police officials had said on condition of anonymity that Mahato regularly visited and received advice from a South Kolkata based veteran intellectual – which was construed as a reference to Mahashweta Devi.

Mahato was arrested Sep 26 by a team of Kolkata Police’s Special Task Force (STF). Later, the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took him into their remand for interrogation.



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