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Civil rights severely challenged in West Bengal

Posted by Admin on October 24, 2009

Let us deman copyCIVIL LIBERTIES and Human Rights groups are alleging that the state of West Bengal is reeling under a spate of mindless anarchy and violence; disturbing civil life and posing a serious challenge to whatever minimal democratic environs exist in the state.

According to a report released by Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), the so called Marxist government of West Bengal, in the guise of fighting ‘Maoist’ menace is actually waging a war against its own populace. It has enough evidence that the place, where people are struggling under the banner of ‘peoples committee against police atrocities’, are being subjected to inhuman condition of living and deprived of all livelihood options, with arrests, keeping them in state custody and interrogating them by violating all the prescribed norms and procedures related to the same, while protesting and demanding their rights.

MASUM lamented that now these extreme violations of procedure and subjugation of humanity is not only confined to the aborigines fighting for their rights and subsequent police atrocities in aborigines dominated districts but the state has extended its blood-soaked hands to urban activists who are condemning the state’s atrocious acts, demanding release of leaders of the committee with other political prisoners and showing their concern over the century old deprivation of aborigines.

MASUM secretary and National Convenor Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI) Kirity Roy said that MASUM also condemns the heinous violence by the private party but with clear observation that maintaining human rights and civil liberty standards is the primary and ultimate responsibility of the state and the state cannot infringe on these constitutional and judicial liabilities by labeling someone ‘Maoist’.

In this respect, he said that they want to condemn the series of high handedness by the police of West Bengal. Police are now targeting activists of human rights groups and in the course violating all the procedures laid down in the Criminal Procedure Code of our country.

According to him, they want to focus on two of such incidents of forcible rounding up of persons by the police and interrogation thereafter, without any respect to the Sections 47, 49, 50, 50A and 160 of CrPC, in which police violated all the mandatory provisions of law in case of arrest, summon and interrogation. The mandatory guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the DK Basu case (AIR 1997 SC 610) is also intentionally violated by the police. MASUM is confident that all these illegal activities are being done by the police on the decision of the government of West Bengal.

Roy said that on 12.10.2009 at about 2.30 pm, Bhanu Sarkar and Ramesh Das were pasting posters demanding release of Chattradhar Mahato of the Lalgarh movement in the adjacent area of Calcutta Coffee House in College Street. All of a sudden a few police personnel came and dragged them into a police jeep. They were brought to the Amherst Street police station; from there they were transferred to the interrogation center of Kolkata police at Lord Sinha Road.

At this notorious place they were detained till midnight and constantly interrogated by one Parthasarathi Ghosh, a police officer, but the persons had no idea about his official designation. The said officer asked them about their relation and proximity with ‘Maoists’ and Chattradhar. From there they again brought them back to the Amherst Street PS and the officers present said they were free, but during the whole exercise they were not served any memo of arrest or cited any reasons for their being taken to the police station and interrogation center. It is amply clear that police in their record would never show that they were arrested and interrogated.

MASUM said that the same thing happened on 20.10.2009, Chotan Das, the Secretary of Bandi Mukti Committee (Committee for release of prisoners) and a leading civil rights activist was illegally brought to Kolkata police headquarters in Lalbazaar from his residence situated near Jora Mandir at 75/50 Beleghata Main Road.

Roy said that according to reliable reports the few suspicious unknown persons were loitering around his house from the afternoon. At about 8.30 p.m. a posse of 7 to 8 police personnel forcibly entered his house, in which two were not in uniform, Chotan and his wife were heckled, shoved and abused verbally while he was dragged to a Tata Sumo car near his home. The car sped off for the EM Bypass and during that time, police personnel put a towel on Chotan’s face to blindfold him and maintain the secrecy of the destination. But it was apparent that he was brought to the 2nd floor of Lalbazaar and the journey took nearly half an hour.

The police personnel seized three mobile phones from Mr. Chotan Das’s house, including one belonging to his son; Sayan. The numbers of these mobiles are 9831133527, 9477433478 both belong to Chotan and another with number 9432558073 belongs to Sayan. No seizure list was made by the police.

The police while entering his room pushed and shoved aside his wife and made an excuse that firecracker had been used at the place or his residence. At the vicinity of his residence, a public feast was going on at that time to celebrate Kali Puja. But after that he was dragged away.

Supposedly a Hindi speaking Indian Police Service (IPS) officer interrogated him at Lalbazaar and questioned him about his visit to Ranchi, related with judicial proceedings of a so called Maoist leader. Chotan denied the allegation as according to him he was not even acquainted with the name.

From Lalbazaar, Chotan was brought to Beleghata police station at around midnight and the police set him free, without any written document and citing any reason for his interrogation. While he was being released from police custody, one policeman in plain clothes stated that ‘we are not going to arrest you just now but we will arrest you under UAPA’.

MASUM deplored these shameful violations of procedure, mandates and legalities and said these are striking at the root of human scruples, civil liberty guarantees and aspirations of the people in general and human rights and civil liberty activists in particular. Meri News

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