National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), West Bengal strongly condemns the blatant attack on the Fundamental Rights of the people of the country guaranteed by the Constitution made by the police and administration of the state of West Bengal by illegally detaining and finally arresting with some false and frivolous allegations the human rights activists and the renowned members of civil society on their way to visit Lalgarh for access of the situation over there and in their peaceful and lawful demands of withdrawing Joint Force from Lalgarh, release of political prisoners of Lalgarh and withdrawing the preventive orders U/S. 144 of Cr.P.C. from the area.
As soon as the team comprised of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), Bandi Mukti Committee, Mazdoor Kranti Parishad, Legal Service Committee, Lalgarh Mancha and others reached Kharagpur Railway Station around 10-45 a.m. from Howrah, where some other local people joined them, and got down at the platform the police personnel posted there beforehand forcefully lifted 76 of the members of the team in the prison van without any warrant of arrest or without issuing memo of arrest nor did the police mention any reason for their action. The activists requested to show them the copy of the prohibitory order, if any, which was not shown by the police. We also condemn the heinous act of bodily lifting of 25 women members of the team to the prison van by male police personnel.
They were taken to Kharagpur Town Police Station in Paschim Medinipur District and were illegally detained there till 5-30 p.m. After they were taken to the Police Station the Additional Superintendent of Police Mr. Chowdhury once came to the place and asked for the identity proof of the detainees but within ten minutes he left the place. A huge armed police force had been posted there. The lawyers and other friends reached the spot by the time and wanted to meet the detainees. But they were not allowed by the police. The detainees wanted to lodge complaint against the police for their illegal, improper and overt acts which are in contravention of the law of the land. But they were constantly discouraged to do so by the police officers, which is again a violation of law.
At about 5-30 p.m. they were told to have been arrested U/S. 143/188/511/186/506/123 of I.P.C. and that would be produced in court next day.
But we understand that the intervention and collective pressure of the opposition parties, the opposition leader, the noted writer like Mahasveta Devi and many other concerned citizens ultimately made the police and administration drop the false allegation made U/S. 123 of I.P.C. against the team of activists and to release them on P.R. Bond. They were released from the Police Station after 9 p.m. Kharagpur P.S. Case Number 18 of 2010 U/S. 143/188/511/186/506 of I.P.C. has been started against them.
It is a clear case of police high handedness and impunity in West Bengal that anyone can be detained by the police or arrested without any charge at any time and also can be released according to their whims which is quite shameful and condemnable instances of which are plenty. It remains a cause of great concerns as to the intentions of Governments—State and Central—and what they attempt to achieve by cordoning off Lalgarh and making it in-accessible to the people, in general. Also the restriction imposed on the movement of the people way before Lalgarh, in this case Kharagpur, a busy township which hardly has anything to do with Lalgarh insurgence (?), is a clear instance of the extremely repressive attitude of the State Government under the pretext of containing so-called Maoist extremism. Notwithstanding the supreme stubbornness of the Government to create a state within a state, we expressed our solidarity and by all such peaceful—and peaceful only—endeavours to break the anti-people barrier posed by the authority.
In this context, we mention that in spite of our best efforts we could not collect from the police or from the administration the copy of the prohibitory orders U/S. 144 (3) of Cr.P.C. operative in different areas of Paschim Medinipur including Lalgarh and an application seeking information as well as first appeal under Right to Information Act have been filed on behalf of NAPM, West Bengal but the authorities are seemingly reluctant.
for National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), West Bengal
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