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Lalgarh: 74 people belonging to APDR & Bandi Mukti Morcha detained

Posted by Admin on January 26, 2010

The police have arrested 68 “intellectuals” marching to Lalgarh from Kharagpur station on Sunday for violating Section 144 but refrained from slapping non-bailable charges on them despite claiming they were carrying “seditious” pamphlets exhorting people to back Maoists.

Sources in the police said it was initially decided to press for non-bailable charges against the detainees but there was a last-minute change in the decision when writer Mahasweta Devi called up top state officials advising against it.

One of the posters that the “intellectuals” were carrying read: “To combat the challenge against the state by the people of Lalgarh, the state has started a war against them with its DOGS, lathi, guns, poisonous gas, rape and several other state-sponsored weapons. Please come and join these rebels and proceed towards Lalgarh to release it from the police by breaking Section 144.”

The poster, published on January 18, 2010 at Ruby Printing Press at 18, Surya Sen Street in Kolkata, mentioned the names of Sukhendu Bhattacharya and Jagabandhu Adhikari as publishers.

Another poster had a poem written by renowned poet Joy Goswami. “If we do not awake now and stay at home instead of joining the people in Lalgarh, we, all artistes, are mass-murderers,” it said.

Around 76 “intellectuals” started marching from Kharagpur station to Lalgarh on Sunday, chanting slogans they will walk down to Lalgarh and break Section 144. Among the 68 arrested are Rangta Munshi of APDR, Choton Das, secretary, Bandi Mukti Committee, professor Pranab Dasgupta, member of ADPR, Sukhendu Bhattcharya, convener of Lalgarh Sanhati Mancha, and scientist Meher Engineer.

Sources said senior police officials had initiated the process to invoke the non-bailable Section 123 of IPC against the detainees, but had to retreat after Mahasweta Devi reportedly called up Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen, asking him to lift the non-bailable sections.

“We invoked Section 123 against the intellectuals as the contents of the posters were completely seditious. Initially, we even got the permission for the same but after a few minutes, we were asked by the higher authorities not to press non-bailable charges,” said a senior police officer.

DGP Bhupinder Singh said, “We at first thought of invoking non-bailable section. But after examining the contents, we thought a bailable section will do.”

Rangta Munshi, however, said: “We had no intention to violate Section 144. The police conspired against us and arrested us so that we cannot join the people of Lalgarh.” IE

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